It isn’t easy to escape from a raging hot fire. Frankly, it’s one of the deadliest things you can encounter.
Thankfully, fireproof bags are a simple and effective way of protecting some of your most important documents from fire.
The question is, do fireproof bags really work? Can they withstand serious temperatures? They do work as long as you buy the right product, these bags can withstand the high temperatures and keep your documents safe.
But do fire-resistant bags offer total protection against fire?
Not really. Still, they will keep your documents safe from a fire for a certain period of time. If you want an extra layer of security during an emergency, they are a great choice. We are going to share all the details about fireproof bags in this article.
Let’s get started.
What Makes Fireproof Bags Special?
So you have stored all your important documents in the cloud. Still, there can be essential paper documents like personal identity documents, banking statements, medical records that are useful in daily life. A fireproof bag is one of the best options for safeguarding these important documents.
Note, a piece of paper will ignite between 424 to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. The exact temperature at which burning commences depends on the type, moisture content, and thickness.
On the other hand, the flame temperature of gasoline or wood is around 1880°F. So it will hardly take any time for your documents to get incinerated.
A fireproof bag can offer the right level of protection from such high temperatures during a house fire. These bags come in various designs, sizes, and materials that can withstand high temperatures.
Get this: a fireproof bag won’t protect your valuables from a fire that has been going on for hours.
Each bag will last for a specific time period depending on its build quality and fireproof rating. In most cases, this ranges between 30 to 120 minutes.
As a prepper, the biggest risk you can face is the fire spreading to your stockpile of water or food. And in an SHTF scenario, you can’t expect the fire department to show up at the right time.
In such cases, a fireproof bag can give your important documents the extra margin of safety. So you need to bring the fire under control or move your documents to safety before that.
Like everything else, not all fire-resistant bags offer the same quality. So before picking one, you need to take a look at the most important points.
In the next section, we list down the main points to help you make the best choice.
Main Features of Fireproof Bags
Here are some of the most important considerations before buying the best fireproof bag.
Without a doubt, this is the most important factor that will affect the performance of a fireproof bag. While there are many fireproof materials like asbestos, mineral wool, and gypsum, fiberglass is considered the best material for fireproof bags.
Fiberglass is a specially woven material that is made from glass fibers. The material is lightweight and is extremely resistant to corrosion. Fiberglass is also not flammable. It only melts at extremely high temperatures.
Since fiberglass is flexible, it is easy to make bags of various forms from it. However, fiberglass is rough and feels uncomfortable against the skin. Also, fiberglass turns brittle at higher temperatures.
Other than that, the fibers can come loose and cause allergic reactions in respiratory tracts. So fiberglass alone isn’t the safest material to deal with.
To get rid of these problems, fiberglass is layered with a silicone coating to make it more effective and user-friendly. This also improves the overall strength of the material and allows it to withstand higher temperatures. A composite material with a double layer can withstand temperatures above 1800°F and also offers excellent durability.
For example, the Cioey fireproof bag has three layers including an aluminum-coated fiberglass layer. This allows the bag to withstand high temperatures of up to 2000°F.
Beyond that, you need to check the overall durability of the bag. High-quality stitches, reinforced corners, and durable handles are a few things you should take note of. We liked the overall durability of the Roloway fireproof bag.
The Fireproof Rating
There are no federal regulations that set a standard for fireproof bags. Most of the bags are tested from Underwriters Laboratories. It is an independent organization that has been testing a wide range of products for more than 100 years. Their certificate indicates a certain standard in terms of quality and heat resistance.
Most fireproof bags are UL 94 rated. This is a flammability standard based on small-scale flame tests. There are 6 different flame classifications mentioned in the UL94. If the material of the bag is UL 94 certified, you can expect it to survive the rated temperature limit.
A top-rated product should withstand temperatures between 1,800°F to 2,000°F. Besides, the internal temperatures should remain less than 350°F.
Fireproof bags come in a variety of sizes. The design can be folder-type or a briefcase-type. The choice of size will depend on what you plan to store in it.
Actually, the bag should be large enough to hold your largest document. If you’re planning to store any additional items in it, pick a large size.
Folder-style bags are good for holding documents and sheets of paper. For storing larger valuables including laptops, a briefcase-type bag is the best choice.
Keep in mind most fireproof bags come with a single compartment. So organizing the items properly will need some effort. However, there are some bags that come with smaller pockets. For instance, the ALORVA fireproof bag comes with a detachable wallet.
Water is used to put out all types of large fires. If the fire breaks out in a bug-out location, you may have to use your emergency water supply to douse the fire.
Quite simply, there’s no point in saving your documents from fire if they get damaged by water a few minutes later. So buying a waterproof bag makes a lot of sense.
Keep in mind, most fireproof bags are not waterproof but water-resistant. That means, they will not survive full immersion in water. Usually, these bags come with a high-quality zipper that keeps out the heat. These zippers can prevent water damage to some extent.
A word of caution: never store wet items in a fireproof bag. When moisture gets trapped inside, mold and mildew formation can damage your documents.
The specifications of the bag will also depend on the type of content you store in it. This will impact the internal and external temperatures the bag can withstand. While the best bags can withstand an external temperature of around 2,000°F, not many of them can keep the internal temperatures low.
While internal temperatures above 200°F will not damage paper, temperatures above 125°F can damage flash drives or other electronic gadgets.
Check this out: iOS devices are best stored in places where the temperature isn’t higher than 113°F.
Even if the outer casing of the device remains damage-free, the digital files in a hard drive can get corrupted. In case you need to store electronic devices safely, a fireproof safe from Sentry Safe is a better option.
It’s not just fire that you need to protect the bag from. If needed, you will have to carry the bag around. So protecting it from other security threats like theft is just as important.
The first thing is to choose a bag with a sturdy and durable handle or shoulder strap. This will reduce any chances of it being snatched away. While fireproof zippers can keep the heat away, for better security, you can choose a bag with a lock.
Some important documents that you should keep in a fireproof bag are insurance details, birth certificates, social security cards, passports, legal and financial documents, photographs, and wills. You can also put some emergency cash in it. As a prepper, other vital items for survival should already be packed in your INCH bag.
Usually, fireproof bags are certified based on the UL 94 flammability test. So they aren’t fully fireproof but fire-resistant. They offer resistance to high temperatures for a shorat period of time.
High-quality bags can keep your valuable documents protected from high temperatures of up to 2000°F. But they won’t offer protection for extended periods.
In theory, they are. But if the fire temperature exceeds the temperature limit of the bag material, it will get damaged. Also, the bags might get damaged if they are kept in the fire for prolonged periods.
If you want to fireproof your valuables for an extended period of time, a fireproof box or safe is a better choice. They are also completely waterproof and big enough for larger items like laptops and family heirlooms. However, they are a heavier and pricier option.
A fireproof bag is one item you pick, hoping that its capabilities are never put to test. But the reality is, a fire is one of the worst disasters that you can face. So fire protection for your important documents is a must. Safeguarding them in the best fireproof document bag is a practical and affordable option.
Can you really afford not to?