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Residential fires often result in the loss of lives and damage to property. The causes of these fires range from cooking, smoking, faulty electrical wiring, and even kids left playing with fire. Many fire disasters could have been prevented if the right fire safety precautions had been taken beforehand.

When a fire strikes, your initial reaction would probably be to save your prized possessions and anything of personal value. However, what are the specific things that you should keep? Here are some ideas to guide you:

Identification, Papers, and Legal Documents

Important primary documents include identification cards, passports, birth certificates, marriage contracts, school records, insurance policies, car and home documents, and more. It’s a good idea to have all of your critical primary documents in an easily accessed box or envelope, so you can grab and go when you smell smoke. This way, you can easily collect them when you are evacuating a place consumed by fire.

Prescription Medication

If you have a health condition, and you rely on your prescription medication, it is vital that you grab them when fire strikes. Health is everything, and these can be the difference between life and death in a stressful disaster situation.

Trophies, Photo Albums, and Other Important Memorabilia

Photos, trophies, medals, and other valuable keepsakes all have sentimental value. These are items that, once lost, are gone forever with no way replace them. Store them in a box that can be easily moved or accessed if disaster strikes.

The Family Jewels

Jewelry is often an investment and has sentimental value, so make sure that you have it in an accessible place at all times. Diamonds and other precious pieces of jewelry should be kept in a vault (get a fireproof one if you can) or in a place that can be easily accessed for safe transfer or evacuation. If you have expensive and valuable jewelry, such as family heirlooms, that you can’t risk getting lost or destroyed in a fire, store them in a safety deposit box outside of your home. Banks and some storage facilities offer this service with accompanying insurance so you can rest easy knowing that your jewelry is protected.

Wallet and Car Keys

If you’re trying to get away from the blaze, you need to be able to grab your wallet and car keys in a hurry and go. Wallets often contain credit cards, ATM cards, cash, and other valuable information like business cards. Car keys, on the other hand, allow you access to your vehicle for a quick getaway. Have them nearby and accessible at all times.


Mobile phones, iPads, laptops, and other handheld devices may be replaceable, but it can be devastating if the information inside them is lost. They may store your business and personal contacts, banking access, secure business information, and access to all of your important personal data and information. Secure them as soon as a fire hits or when there is the danger of an impending disaster.

And the Big Finale: You

You are the most important thing to keep safe from a house fire. If the choice is between saving the family jewels or getting out with your life and health, be prepared to run out the door without the tennis bracelet your grandma gave you for your 12th birthday. Nothing is more important than the safety of you and your family: they simply cannot be replaced.