By Christopher Shiver
“FIRE!”…few words inspire such fear and pain. What do you do? What if a hurricane is coming or other unexpected disasters like floods, forest fires or busted pipes in the winter occur? After family and life, what are the things that matter most to you?
Every day all over the world, tens of thousands of people suffer disasters or damage to home, family and belongings. Next to losing a family member or friend, the next most devastating pain that people suffer is the loss of priceless and irreplaceable personal belongings. Pictures and picture albums, scrapbooks, generational family treasures and heirlooms, wedding videos — these are the things we can’t live without.
Every year in the United States, one in every 310 residences will have a fire, one fire every 83 seconds, over 1.5 million fires resulting in over $28 billion in damages. Floods and hurricanes result in massive water and even fire disasters. In Hurricane Sandy, over 200 homes burned down. In Hurricane Katrina, over 100,000 homes were washed away or severely damaged.
Disaster preparation plans are essential even though we hope to never have to use them. As the famous motto of the Boy Scouts says – Be prepared! Just in case…
So many painful images come to mind of recent disasters (the Bastrop fires, Colorado Springs fires, Hurricane Sandy, Ike and Katrina, Mississippi river flooding, etc… ). Endless stories and pictures of people desperately digging through the ruins searching for some connection to their past….pictures, an heirloom, digital media, a child’s treasured hand drawing, grandfathers burial flag, etc.
A house fire can reach 1,000°F in 3 minutes. In seven minutes it can reach a full inferno up to 1,700°F. You have very little time to extinguish the fire – maybe one to two minutes. Then get out! It might only be a small kitchen fire but the firemen arrive on average in 7 to 9 minutes from the call, and If they can extinguish the fire, will have flooded your house with 150 gallons a minute of high pressure water.
You and your family need to think about these situations. What do you need to prepare for? What do you most desperately want to protect? You have insurance on everything but the things that matter most – your irreplaceable pictures and family heirlooms. The loss is crushing and avoidable with proper planning and a little effort.
Double check your fire extinguishers and smoke detectors – one in every room. Think about protecting and backing up critical documents and pictures, your great grandmothers wedding dress, your wedding albums, generational scrapbooks…Check your fire proof safes if you have them. Most are “fire proof” not “heat proof,” meaning – what’s inside will still be damaged in an average house fire.
Pictures and hard drives are damaged at about 170° F. Update your pictures and videos of the contents of your home for insurance purposes, and store those in a safe place, not in the home!!
Christopher Shiver is the founder of Clear Lake based DreamSaver – a next generation space shuttle heat shield based, fire and heat proof safe. For more information about obtaining a DreamSaver go to www.dream-saver.com.