James Conforti and Domingo Medina - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by James Conforti and Domingo Medina on 7/5/2018

Gold in the BankOur homes contain almost everything of value to us. In a way, your home is like a giant safe that you want to protect from break-ins, floods and fires. Unfortunately, you can't always be one-hundred percent sure that everything in your home is protected from these hazards. For an added layer of security for your most important belongings, buying a home safe is an excellent option. However, there are many different types of safes across a large price range. Knowing which one fits your needs but also your budget can be complicated. What's more, deciding what items you own should be kept in a safe is a process all of its own. But we've got you covered. In this article, we'll talk about the types of safes and some items you should keep inside of them.

Safe Categories

Not all safes are created with the same purpose. Some may be designed for you to be able to open from your smart phone, whereas others are created from an everyday object, such as a book, to be hidden in plain sight. Others might be small and fireproof but not very effective against burglars who can easily carry them out of your home. When shopping a safe and thinking about size, remember that you should probably buy a safe that is a bit larger than your current needs since you will probably someday add items to your safe.   Here are the main types of safe to help you choose which one is right for you:
  • Water-tight and fire resistant. If you have important documents, jewelry, or electronics that you want to keep secure, a weatherproof safe is the way to go. For added security against floods, keep the safe away from areas that are prone to water damage like basements. These are the most common safes and are a great choice.
  • Diversion. Diversion safes often only have minimal security measures (locks), if any at all. Their main strength is that they can be hidden in plain sight, such as being a book inside a bookshelf.
  • Wall-installed. You've probably seen this type in the movies. They are installed into a wall and can be hidden behind objects. These have the advantage of being hidden like a diversion safe, but also use thick metal and complex locking mechanisms. But be prepared to pay a hefty price for all those features.
  • Anti-burglary. These safes are very difficult to break open. They have complex locks and thick metal with few vulnerabilities.
  • Object-specific safe. Some safes are designed just for weapons, others designed just for jewelry.

What to keep safe

Generally speaking, anything of value to you that isn't easy to replace can be kept in a safe. Depending on how easy it is to access your safe and how often you use the item, you may decide it's simpler to leave the item out of the safe. However, you can always use the safe to secure backups of documents and files. Here are some ideas for items to keep in your safe:
  • Passports
  • Birth Certificates
  • Social security card
  • Spare keys
  •  Wills
  • Flash drive containing important photos and documents
  • Important passwords
  • Jewelry
  • Family heirlooms
  • Weapons and other dangerous objects
 





Posted by James Conforti and Domingo Medina on 6/22/2017

A house fire is a parent and home owner's worst fear. Many people see tragic house fires as a case of very bad luck, but in reality most house fires can be avoided by practicing good fire safety. To prevent house fires and to know what to do in case you have one, you'll need to learn and teach your children about the main causes of house fires, how to prevent them, and what to do when a fire occurs. We'll cover all of that in this article, plus give you some tips on making it easy and fun for kids to learn.

How do house fires happen?

The eight most common causes of house fires are:
  1. candles
  2. smoking
  3. electrical/lighting
  4. dryers and washing machines
  5. lightning
  6. kids playing with fire
  7. tree decorations
  8. kitchen/cooking

Play investigator

To prevent some of the causes of fire listed above, gather your children and put on your investigator hat. Make a checklist of the following and scour your house together to search for clues of fire hazards, taking care of them as you go along. Look for:
  • Overloaded power strips and damaged power cords
  • Dryer vents that are clogged up or dirty
  • Stove burners that are near flammable items like curtains
  • Smoke detectors checked
  • Extra batteries located
  • Escape route noted (see below)
  • Ensure kids know the rules about candles, cooking, playing with fire, etc.

Plan your escape

Teaching kids a fire escape route can be tricky. It might get confusing for them or they might forget or panic in case of an actual fire. Therefore the best way to teach kids a fire escape plan is to practice it often. Have monthly or bi-monthly fire safety checks with your kids and go over your escape plan and test your smoke detectors. Yearly, participate in fire safety week, which also covers escape plans and best practices but turns it into a weeklong series of activities you can do with your kids. When it comes to the actual fire escape plan, grab some graphing paper and colored pencils and sit down with your kids to create your home. Include in your plan the names and escape routes (2 minimum) of each room and the outdoor meeting place. Have kids draw their own (age appropriate) to help them understand the plan better and get them involved. Once you've drawn the plan, run through it a few times with your kids. If you have infants or very young children who can't get themselves out of the house, plan who will retrieve them from their room in case of a fire. Remember to tell the kids not to wait for others before getting outside, and to not try to take belongings with them.

Stick to your routine

The hardest part about fire safety is making it a habit. At school, your kids have mandatory fire drills. At home, however, parents get busy with work or forget and tend to ignore fire safety. So, you'll have to find ways to make sure you and your family stick to the plan. If you have a family calendar hanging in your home, make sure you pencil in your bi-monthly fire safety meeting. Similarly, anyone in your family who uses a calendar on their phone or computer should add it there as well and invite the other family members. Make sure the event is fun for everyone to ensure no one dreads it. You could make a plan to take the kids out to dinner or somewhere fun after to make it a night everyone looks forward to every couple of months.







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