10 Things To Put In A Fire-Resistant Safe

Your house isn’t going to catch on fire, right? Well, you hope not, so maybe you even fool yourself into believing it can’t happen. But I’ll bet you have fire insurance, and maybe a collapsible escape ladder, and a fire extinguisher or two. I have all this, and I also back up all my digital data in the cloud, including pictures and documents.

And I have a fire-resistant safe.

All this preparation is so that if there ever is a fire, I can reduce or eliminate any risks to lives and valuables.

Most documentation is replaceable, but certain things are not. Sometimes, when documentation is replaceable, getting duplicates can be a nightmare.

Mementos: Photos, love letters, children’s drawings, and so on. You probably have a box full of things that you like to browse through every ten years or so. Or photo albums on a shelf. If these items were incinerated, you’d be very unhappy.

Insurance papers: Home, auto, life, health, and business insurance papers should be protected.

Health related information: if you have health issues and multiple files, records, and prescriptions, they should be protected.

Financials: Documentation regarding investments, bank account numbers, stocks, bonds and coins should be protected.

Wallet: Photocopy everything in your wallet front and back and put the copy and extra credit cards and cash should be protected.

Identification: Birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, insurance cards, and any other identifying documents should be protected.

Titles: Deeds, boat, and automobile titles should be protected.

Wills: Any and all documentation related to a will should be protected.

Jewelry: Most insurance providers require a safe in order to obtain insurance coverage.

Extras: I have an extra passport, extra credit cards, extras set of keys, extra emergency cash, and extra identification, all protected in my safe.

Robert Siciliano is a Personal and Home Security Expert for SentrySafe. See him Discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

A Safe Alternative to Theft and Fire

People steal. Therefore, safes exist. There has always been a need for a place to hide, store, and lock away valuables in order to protect them from thieves.

Hundreds or even thousands of years ago, safes were constructed from materials such as wood, granite, cement, brick, and even clay. Today, safes are made with some type of metal, combined with other materials. Safes have basically always incorporated a lock of some kind, and, to make things more difficult for criminals, have often been built to be either intentionally heavy or permanently installed.

Throughout the 19th century, as cities were developed and more and more houses were built, fires became an issue in overcrowded areas. Fire codes as we know them today didn’t exist. This created a need to protect valuables from more than thieves. New technologies were added to protect safes from fire damage. It wasn’t unusual for a safe to be lined with brick, asbestos, or plaster to slow down a fire.

Once high-quality, fire-resistant metal safes were introduced, banks and wealthy people snapped them up. But it wasn’t until the early 1930’s that SentrySafe introduced and perfected the fire-resistant safe as an affordable alternative for average people’s home security needs. Today, millions of SentrySafes like the Big Bolt Fire Safe are being deployed in homes and small businesses worldwide. Having a safe is just smart. Go to SentrySafe to learn more.

Robert Siciliano is a Personal and Home Security Expert for SentrySafe discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures.

Protecting Your Green

By green, I mean what you might call your cashola, mula, peso, mark, deniro, bread…or just money.

I have a few, possibly contradictory philosophies about protecting one’s money. But hear me out.

First and foremost, never, ever fight a burglar, mugger, robber or home invader over money. If some whacko wants your dough, give it to him. I recommend keeping “chump change” on your person, or even at home, which you can easily hand over in the event of a violent demand. Toss it in one direction and run screaming in the other.

Keeping money under a mattress is generally not a good idea. Criminals flip over mattresses and slice them with knives. Often, criminals target a victim who they know has a mattress stuffed with cash, because the target told the wrong person about the mattress’s contents, and that person turned rat for a cut of the loot. Mattresses are also flammable.

A safe deposit box is a good idea, but not entirely practical. It usually costs money to have one. A safe deposit box certainly has its value. It’s generally located in a fire-resistant area of a bank, and is protected by a key. But there are drawbacks. Ask your bank how much your box is insured for, if insurance is even available. Also, keep in mind that safe deposit boxes are often located below ground, in areas that may be prone to flooding.

Banks are the best option for storing your money. Keeping your money in a bank account is the safest, as far as your personal security is concerned. Banks do “go under,” and money has gone missing, like at banks in third world countries, but here in the United States, banks are FDIC insured. And while a total meltdown of the banking system can negatively affect your cash position, you should put your money in the bank.

A safe is great. A SentrySafe Big Bolt is better. If you keep money in the house, it is essential it be stored in a fire-resistant safe. Having money sitting in a drawer or stuffed into a wall makes it vulnerable to thieves and fires. The caveat is that you really shouldn’t keep an excessive amount of money in your home. But I definitely recommend having emergency cash around.

If something like a natural disaster or serious power outage were to hinder your ability to get cash from banks or ATMs, having a smart but not excessive reserve can get you out of a jam.

Robert Siciliano is a Personal and Home Security Expert for SentrySafe discussing Home Security on NBC Boston. Disclosures.

Setting Up A Sentry Big Bolt Safe

FedEx showed up to my house with a good-sized box, and the driver came to my door to request my signature and a little help. The box felt like it weighed 90 pounds, maybe slightly more. It wasn’t too heavy for two adults. A little awkward, but handling it was easy enough.

A safe should be installed in an inconspicuous location. I put mine in a closet, so it’s not in plain view, on the second floor, in case there is a flood. Of course, the Big Bolt is water-resistant, but it’s best to be as safe as possible.

After cutting open the top of the box, the smartest way to remove the safe is to hold open the flaps and flip the box upside down, then pull the box and packing material off of the safe. The manual is affixed to the safe, with the safe’s combination clearly posted. Scan the combination on the manual’s cover and upload the image to your computer.

Once having successfully used the combination to open the safe, fill out the product registration and send it in.

Must you install the safe, or can you just leave it sitting on the floor? Install it. A burglar will certainly be able to pick it up if you do not. If it’s bolted to the floor, the thief will have a hard time removing it without a heavy-duty breaker bar.

To install the Big Bolt safe you need a drill, a 7/16th drill bit, a ¼ inch bit, 2-6 inch x 7/16th bolts and washers, and either a socket wrench, adjustable wrench, or box wrench. Following the instructions, drill holes through two of the safe’s feet to bolt it to the floor. Then, mark the floor with a pencil. Move the safe out of the way and then drill your pilot holes using a ¼ inch bit. Move the safe back and screw in your bolts.


Now your stuff is more secure from fires and burglars.

Robert Siciliano is a Personal and Home Security Expert for SentrySafe. See him Discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Do You Own a Safe? Why Not?

Approximately two million homes are burglarized every year. That’s one home every fifteen seconds or so. Police only catch one out of ten burglars, which means the bad guys do it over and over again. Burglaries result in over $4.5 billion in losses annually, or over $2000 for the average victim.

A safe can be had for under a hundred dollars, or up to several hundred, and can last forever.

You don’t need to be a convenience store, a jewelry store, or a bank to need a safe. If you keep money or credit cards in your house, you need a safe. If you have uninsured or uninsurable jewelry, you need a safe. If you have essential paper documents, like birth certificates, Social Security cards, insurance papers, stocks, bonds, or vehicle titles, you need a safe. Investing in a fireproof safe will also protect cash and valuables and save you the hassle of replacing important documents in case of a fire.

I’ve had four different safes over the past twenty years, because my needs have changed. While living at school and then in a small apartment, I had a portable, fireproof safe for documents and jewelry. (Yes, I wear gold jewelry, but that’s another story.) Then, when I owned a multifamily building, I upgraded to a medium-sized safe. And now that I have a family, I protect our belongings with a larger safe. There’s also a safe specifically for firearms, but we’ll get into that some other time.

I’ve always owned SentrySafe products . There are certain brands whose products always seem to work perfectly, right out of the box. Products that work so well, once you buy one, you’ll never have to replace it. That’s SentrySafe’s line of products.

SentrySafe is a family-owned business that has been making fire-resistant safes for over eighty years. I’m proud to be working with them on a campaign to introduce their new Big Bolt Safe. This little beast is sitting right here, bolted to my floor, as a handy thief repellent.

SentrySafe’s values — “Quality, Loyalty, Growth, and Innovation” — are evident in their products. These are terms I identify and agree with, as I’m German Shepherd-loyal, and innovation is what keeps my kids fed.

As a homeowner or apartment dweller, you know stuff happens. Your first concerns should be theft and fire prevention. You probably have home insurance, but instead of relying on a reactive solution to these issues, wouldn’t it be better to add a layer of protection, actively reducing your risk ahead of time, for a fraction of the cost of insurance? What do you think?

Robert Siciliano is a Personal and Home Security Expert for SentrySafe. See him Discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.