I awoke a few days ago to a phone call from my sister: There had been a fire at our parents' home. Luckily, there were no long-term serious injuries to them, although my dad suffered first- and second-degree burns while trying to put out the fire, and breathed in an alarming amount of smoke. No smoke detectors were in place at the time of the fire. One that had been installed was down in preparation of repainting a hallway. My dad's little companion, a dog named Skeeter, saved them by barking at the flames and waking them up. Skeeter became lost in the billowing black smoke. He did not get out of the house, along with two other pets.
It was a total loss; wooden houses burn fast. My folks escaped with a cell phone and my mother's glasses. I tell you these things only to reinforce the reality that disasters can, will, and do happen. If not to you, than to someone you know. I live on the other side of Texas from where my parents reside, so I had two full days to reflect on the events driving to and from the old homestead. Lots of memories burned in that house.
In the aftermath, the insurance adjustor and fire investigator poked, prodded and measured the charred rubble. When they found the burned remains of a firearm they put them in a pile at the southwest corner of the yard. Like many, my folks did not have a gun safe. I don't know why we gun owners put off purchasing a safe. I did the same thing for years, stashing and hiding guns in various places. Worrying every time we went out of town that some miscreant would pilfer my armory. I have a fireproof safe now, and while they are not 100 percent burglar proof, I tend to not worry much about leaving the place unattended. I had never put much thought into the "fireproof" aspects of a safe until the other day. Most are rated up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, and they tell me that most house fires to not reach that temperature.
Had my parents owned a safe, perhaps they would have had a few things survive the inferno. Insurance will replace a home and much of its contents, but some things, including treasured heirloom firearms, are irreplaceable. Important papers and copies of photographs could have been stowed on a safe shelf without taking up much room at all, along with jewelry of value. Take a lesson from this loss: Get a fire-resistant gun safe, and make sure to have a smoke detector in every room and hallway of your home.
For fire- and burglar-resistant safes, take a look at Cannon, Liberty and Sentry (presented in alphabetical order) to find one that works best for you. Quality safes can be pricey, but as the author's story shows, protecting your priceless objects is well worth it. For more information on how to choose the safe that's right for you, check out this informative article from Chip Lohman.