Why it’s smart to invest in
the right home/office safe
for your needs
By Erik J. Martin
IN 2008, JOANN Perahia’s home in Port
Washington, New York, caught fire. Although
the complete loss of her house was devastating, Perahia was grateful for two major outcomes: None of her loved ones was hurt, and
many of her family’s important documents
survived because they were securely enclosed
within two home safes.
“Thank goodness my husband had the
sense to buy those safes and store all our key
papers in them, like insurance policies, corporate books and passports,” says Perahia, a
Costco member who continues to use the
same fire- and water-resistant safes in her new
home today. “Many of those documents are
irreplaceable, and rebounding after that fire
would have been so much harder if they had
Consider that each household has a 25
percent chance of suffering a fire large enough
to be reported to a fire department during an
average lifetime, per the National Fire
Protection Association. Additionally, the FBI
recently reported that a burglary occurs every
15 seconds, and one in every 36 American
homes will be burglarized this year—with an
average loss of $1,675 per break-in.
Given these odds, it makes sense to equip
your home or office with a safe that can pro-
tect your precious belongings from thieves,
“I began to think about where my sensi-
tive documents were stored at my business.
After realizing they were scattered through-
out my office, I figured owning a safe would
be a good way to store documents I might
need quick in an emergency,” says Costco
member Nicolas Zilveti, agency owner of The
Zilveti Team at Farmers Insurance in Austin,
Texas, who recently purchased a safe for his
office and his home.
Robin Crawford, a Costco member and
director of marketing and product development for Rochester, New York–
headquartered Sports Afield safes, agrees that a safe
provides a great way to organize your most
important possessions in one secure location.
“You now have a central place to go to
easily locate these items,” says Crawford, who
adds that safes also discourage family members and hired help from pilfering valuables
or accessing dangerous firearms.
Better peace of mind in a box
Safes come in a variety of sizes and styles
built for different needs. Some safes are
designed to protect against fire and heat damage, others are constructed to resist safecrack-ers and their tools, some include waterproof
features, and many safeguard from two or all
three of these threats.
Small home and office safes usually pro-
vide at least 1 to 2 cubic feet of space, adjust-
able shelving, key racks and door pockets, and
fast and simple accessibility.
Executive vaults are typically larger,
boasting thicker walls and doors, commer-cial-grade lock and bolt systems, increased
storage space (often 8 to 40 or more cubic
feet) and, in some models, media protection
and interior power to keep interior electronics such as hard drives, security systems and
dehumidifiers (recommended for humid
Other specialty types include pistol safes,
decoy containers (they look like common
objects, such as a soup can or cleaning product), small portable safes, wall safes, cash
boxes and slot deposit safes.
Some safes are equipped with a key lock
or an electronic lock with a key override, while
better models feature a UL (Underwriters
Laboratories) listed traditional combination
lock, electronic lock programmed via a key-pad or both.
Unlock answers before you shop
A safe should be chosen carefully after
scrutinizing several important factors.
Interior capacity. First, ponder the
essential contents you’ll want to store (see
sidebar). Stack them together and measure
approximately how much space they’ll consume. Factor in at least 25 to 50 percent extra
space for future storage needs.
Final location. Even small safes can
weigh hundreds of pounds. Determine how
you’ll transport it to your desired spot, if your
floor can support that weight (most safes can
and should be bolted to the floor for added
security) and if the chosen area has the necessary space and ease of access.
Protection level. Most safes are crafted to
meet particular standards for burglary and/or
CONTINUED ON PAGE 36
Packing away prized
CONSIDER STORING important assets
in a safe, including:
; Key documents such as Social Security
cards; birth, death, marriage and stock
certificates; deeds and titles; passports; wills; insurance policies; tax
records; and savings bonds
; Valuable jewelry, precious metals,
cash, coins and collectibles
; Hard drives, backup tapes and other
; Irreplaceable photos, videos and family
; Firearms and ammunition—EJM