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Even Americans who havenât visited know that New York City never sleeps. Endless streams of people on the street and taxi cabs clogging the roadways are just part of the ceaseless movement in the city. With a population nearing nine million people, New York City always has something going on within its five boroughs.
With all the commotion, itâs safe to say that New York City could be one of the loudest cities on earth. However, it seems that New Yorkers are getting tired of the noise more than usual this year. From COVID-19 lockdowns to widespread protests, New York City has become quite chaotic lately â is this the cause of the increase in noise complaints?
We analyzed data from NYC OpenData, which includes a database of 311 calls placed within the city. We looked at noise complaint calls placed from February 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, and from February 1, 2019, to June 30, 2019.
We also used available population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau to weigh noise complaint call data in relation to the population of each New York borough: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.
Noise complaints rise 106% in one year
Itâs no secret that New York City is a noisy place ââ the bustling streets and never-ending traffic jams create quite the cacophony of sound. However, it seems like residents are complaining about noise more than ever, especially since last year. Total complaints more than doubled from this time last year, increasing by 106 percent.Â
Hereâs a breakdown of the data between 2019 and 2020:Â
Noise complaints increased by over 106 percent from 2019 to 2020 (within the measured time period). The city also saw a 97 percent increase in complaints from the beginning of April to the end of May 2020, marking the largest jump in noise complaints so far this year. These increases paint a striking picture of the considerable changes in city life over the last several months.
COVID-19, lockdowns and protests in NYC
The beginning of March marked the start of quarantines, lockdowns and panic over the COVID-19 pandemic. With such a huge population density (27,000 people per square mile), New York City quickly fell into chaos as the virus spread through the city ââ as of June 30, there were over 212,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York City alone.
Quarantines and lockdowns within the city meant millions of people began working from home. With so many now at home from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., itâs no surprise that New Yorkers had more to complain about when it comes to noisy neighbors and the sounds of city traffic. The data reflects this timeline perfectly, showing a difference of nearly 10,000 additional complaints logged in March (compared to February).
The end of May 2020 came with a new noise in New York City: protests. This unrest was widespread across New York City, with protests in all five boroughs. The sheer volume of these protests can be seen clearly in the data we analyzed. From the beginning of May to the end of June, noise complaints increased by 79 percent. Additionally, complaints of âloud talkingâ more than doubled from the beginning of April to the end of May, about the time when the protests began.
Battle of the boroughs: Who complains the most in NYC?
Despite having a smaller population than other boroughs, The Bronx has logged the most noise complaints in 2020 so far ââ a total of 81,869 complaints logged from February to June.
Because populations differ across the five boroughs, we divided each boroughâs total complaints by its respective total population to find comparable percentages.
Borough-specific data is below:
- The Bronx: 81,869 total complaints (6 percent of the population)
- Manhattan: 74,661 total complaints (5 percent of the population)
- Brooklyn: 73,899 total complaints (3 percent of the population)
- Queens: 49,469 total complaints (2 percent of the population)
- Staten Island: 6,635 total complaints (1 percent of the population)
A borough rich in local culture, The Bronx has been called the birthplace of hip-hop and salsa, is home to Yankee Stadium and boasts one of the most diverse populations in the city. This diversity could be related to a higher volume of noise complaints, especially since a 2017 study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal determined that neighborhoods with higher poverty rates and larger minority populations experience more noise pollution than other neighborhoods.
New York City explodes with fireworks
From the beginning of April to the end of June this year, complaints about illegal fireworks increased by a staggering 283,595 percent ââÂ only 19 complaints were logged in April, while complaints in June totaled 53,902. Brooklyn is seeing the majority of complaints about fireworks, with approximately one in three complaints originating from the largest of the boroughs.
Fireworks are the second most complained-about noise in New York City from February to June, with loud music and parties taking the first place prize for the most complained-about noise (157,823 total complaints during this time period). With this in mind, itâs important to note that 311 OpenData categorizes these complaints in their own section, rather than grouping them with other noise complaints.
Here is a breakdown of the noises New Yorkers complained about the most in June 2020:Â
- Loud music and parties: 73,238 complaints
- Fireworks: 53,902 complaints
- Traffic: 10,795 complaints
- Loud talking: 7,213 complaints
- Construction: 2,014 complaints
While summer fireworks in New York City have always been present, this year is definitely unique. The unusual volume of fireworks has raised many conspiracy theories among New Yorkers, with some claiming the government is using the fireworks to desensitize the public to âwar-like sounds.â Others claim the police are using the fireworks as a punishment for the recent protests, while some say New Yorkers are simply bored in quarantine.
Whatever the cause of the fireworks, they are wreaking havoc across the city. Countless residents have been hospitalized with firework-related injuries and the city government has created a police taskforce to curb illegal firework activity, with police donning riot gear and arresting anyone believed to be involved.
New York City has always been loud, but 2020 seems to have turned up the volume in the city. Noise complaints are at an all-time high with no end in sight. If youâre living in New York City this summer, there are easy ways to soundproof your home.
U.S. Census Bureau | New York City OpenData: 1, 2 | Gothamist | The Atlantic
The post NYC Noise Complaints Increase 279% in Just 4 Months appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.
The landlord-tenant relationship can be a difficult one to navigate, especially if it involves a lot of renter complaints.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to build a strong foundation with your landlord. Both parties have a lot at stake.
For you, it’s your home and your security deposit, and for your landlord, it’s their income and the property in which they have invested time and money. It’s not uncommon for tension to arise at some point, but how you handle difficult situations can make or break the relationship with your landlord moving forward.
The best initial step you can take to avoid a less-than-stellar landlord is to include an assessment of your potential landlord as part of the decision process when searching for a new place to live. Have they been easy to contact so far? Have they answered your questions and addressed your concerns? Do some background research and see if you can find any reviews from past tenants.
If you do find yourself experiencing one of these common renter complaints, there are steps you can take to try and resolve the situation.
Common renter complaint #1: Poor communication
Many renters deal with a lack of communication from their landlords and feel that they’re unaware of certain rules or expectations as they relate to the property. Maybe you sign your lease agreement, move into your new home and never really hear from your landlord again. Or, maybe you’re having trouble with your landlord’s responsiveness to issues like maintenance requests, noisy neighbors or other important questions.
Early on in the relationship with your landlord, ask if they can walk through the lease agreement with you and point out any rules or expectations that are especially important to them (something a good landlord should do on their own.) As a tenant, it’s your responsibility to read through the lease agreement in its entirety and bring up any questions you may have.
Do your best to keep lines of communication open with your landlord â make timely contact about any issues or questions that arise and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your landlord lives in the same building or is frequently on the property, be sure to be friendly and say hello when you cross paths. Establishing this relationship from the get-go will build trust.
Common renter complaint #2: Maintenance issues
Maintenance issues and repairs are one of the main reasons you’ll have to get in touch with your landlord throughout your rental experience. Whether it’s something minor like a lighting fixture fix or something major like a water leak, your landlord should be responding and repairing your requests in a timely manner.
Establish your landlord’s preferred method of communication from the get-go. Can you text them a picture of the issue to make sure it’s catching their attention and not getting lost in an email inbox? Are they not as tech-savvy and prefer you give them a call directly? If you don’t already have a tenant portal, ask your landlord if they would consider setting one up so you can easily submit maintenance requests and your landlord can easily track everything in one place.
Be clear on what your responsibility is as a renter and what your landlord’s responsibility is. Make sure to check in on your local laws to figure out what the expectations are on important maintenance issues like water, heating or other habitability issues.
Common renter complaint #3: Lack of privacy
Sometimes, a landlord might be on the property without actually entering your home. He might comment on whether or not your front porch had been cleared of leaves or whether or not the recycling bin was too full, and it always felt like an invasion of privacy to have him pop up unannounced.
As a tenant, you absolutely have a legal right to the quiet enjoyment of your home and your landlord is required to provide you with at least 24 hours notice before entering your property (unless there’s an emergency situation). If your landlord is showing up for maintenance or inspections without notifying you first, bring it to their attention right away.
If your landlord performs regular inspections, ask if they would be willing to come on the same day every month or give you a schedule for the entirety of your lease agreement. If language around routine inspections isn’t included in your lease agreement, be sure to ask about it before you sign.
Common renter complaint #4: Security deposit refunds
It’s always upsetting to move out of a property and learn that your security deposit refund is much smaller than you were expecting â especially if you followed all move-out instructions and didn’t cause any major damage.
It’s important to understand that typically, landlords are not profiting off of your security deposit â they’re using the finances to repair an issue that occurred when you were the renter. Of course, there are situations where this isn’t the case and legal action is the only feasible option.
Before you move out, ask your landlord to provide you with a move-out checklist or clearly state their expectations. Refer to any checklists or inspection documents that you may have completed upon move in to make sure you’re leaving the property in the same condition you found it.
Ask your landlord if they would be willing to do a property walkthrough with you before you hand over the keys to address any issues that can be fixed or cleaned before you leave. Take pictures upon move out so you have evidence to show your landlord if need be.
If you are charged or your landlord withholds your security deposit, ask for an itemized list of the deductions so you can clearly see where your money is going.
Keep it friendly
Establishing a positive relationship with your landlord from the beginning and keeping lines of communication open will make it easier for both parties to deal with any issues that arise down the road.
The post The Most Common Renter Complaints That Landlords Hear appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.
Every January, we vow to get our financial houses in order. And each December, we face up to the reality that we didn’t quite make it happen. There are plenty of reasons why we fail on our financial resolutions, including the biggest reason of all: too little time. This year, try a new approach. Divide the job into bite-sized tasks and tackle one a day for a month. Ready to get started?
Today, I have a fun interview to share with you that will show you how to become a freelancer.
I recently had the chance to interview Ben Taylor. Ben has been freelancing since 2004, and he has worked for dozens of companies.
Yes, this is a career path that you can learn!
As Ben will tell you in the interview below, a freelancer can be anything. You can be a freelance designer, personal trainer, nutrition coach, online teacher, virtual assistant, writer, and more.
If you are looking for a new business or even just a side hustle so that you can learn how to make extra money, learning how to become a freelancer may be something that you want to look into.
In this interview, you will learn:
- What a freelancer is, who they work for, what they do, etc.
- How much a new freelancer should expect to earn
- How a person can find their first freelancing job
- The steps needed to take to make money as a freelancer
And much more!
He also has an informative course called Freelance Kickstarter. This course takes you through the step by step process of creating your own freelance business.
Check out the interview below for more information.
How to become a freelancer.
1. Please give us a background on yourself and how you started as a freelancer.
I’m Ben, and I live by the sea in England with my wife and two young sons.
I started a career in tech back in 1998, and by 2004 was Head of IT for a government department. It didn’t take long for me to tire of company politics, and the endless meetings that were more about displays of ego than really getting anything done.
I came from an entrepreneurial family and my parents both had businesses rather than jobs. The businesses weren’t always successful, and there were definitely periods of “feast and famine.” However, I was well used to that and I think that branching out on my own was something I was destined to do.
My move into freelancing splits into a couple of clear phases:
Initially, in 2004, I quit my IT job, walking away from business class travel and a gold-plated pension with nothing more than a vague plan to begin to work as a freelancer!
I started to provide IT support and consultancy to both businesses and individuals. I do actually still do some of that work for a select group of long-term clients, but by 2009 I had managed to burn myself out with it. The business was going well, but I was working ridiculously long days and every holiday I tried to take was interrupted by constant phone calls and emails.
So phase two began when I sold off most of my client-base and moved to Portugal! That’s when I really started to broaden my freelance horizons. I had to start from scratch, with an unclear intention to start writing for a living, and no real plan for how to do it.
I did lots of things, including wasting a LOT of time down fruitless blind alleys. I wrote for content mills, started blogs, found clients on freelance job boards, and – slowly and steadily – started to build my income back up. The difference was that I was doing it all completely on my terms with work I really enjoyed.
I was also living in a dream destination whilst doing it.
2. Can you explain what exactly a freelancer is, who they work for, what they do, etc.?
This seems like a basic question, but it’s very worthwhile. There’s a considerable difference between freelancing and remote working that not everybody appreciates.
First off, a freelancer can be anything. For some reason many people immediately think of writing when they think about freelancing. But you can be a freelancer designer, personal trainer, nutrition coach, online teacher, virtual assistant, and dozens of other things.
It’s also worth noting you don’t only have to be one of those things. I AM a freelancer writer, but I also still dabble in IT consultancy, run my own blogs, provide coaching, and even build websites for people (if they ask nicely and the price is right!)
Regardless of what you do as a freelancer, the important thing to realise is that you are running your own business. The big plus of this is that you are in total charge. But the big negative is that you don’t have any of the safety nets you have if you are employed by a single company. This means you’re responsible for everything from your own insurance and healthcare to your own technical support!
Freelancers typically work for several different clients. There are myriad places to find those clients. It’s quite common for freelancers to find clients within their existing professional networks, and not at all unusual for ex-employers to be among them. Then there are freelance job boards like Upwork and PeoplePerHour, which provide an endless stream of new opportunities.
3. How much should a new/beginner freelancer expect to earn?
This is an incredibly difficult question to answer! I can think of one freelancer I coached who’s in a very specific writing niche. He went onto Upwork with an initial rate of $100 per hour and found lots of work. I started out in IT consultancy charging a similar rate and was quickly earning more than I did in my full-time job.
However, at the other end of the scale there are people with limited experience or specialist skills who will need to pay their dues. This means building the foundations of a freelance career by proving yourself and taking low paying jobs to build up examples of work and positive feedback. My move into writing was much more like this!
I think “job replacement income” is a useful target for new freelancers to keep in mind. That can vary vastly from individual to individual. Obviously replacing and exceeding a corporate-level income takes much more than freelancing as an alternative to a part-time, entry-level job. That said, people with senior-level experience command much higher freelance rates.
Related content: 20 Of The Best Entry Level Work From Home Jobs
4. What do you like about being a freelancer?
Not having a boss!
The difference in lifestyle is massive when you work for yourself. This is always brought home to me when I’m making plans with friends and family, and people say “I’ll see if I can get the time off.”
This makes me shudder, because it’s SO alien to me now. The example I always use is that I never have to ask anybody before I can tell my children I’ll be at their sports day or nativity play.
When you have what I call a “traditional job,” you DO have the security of healthcare, and perhaps things like holiday and sick pay. But you give up a tremendous amount of freedom in return. Freelancing is profoundly different, and it’s rare to find people who’ve given it a go that would ever choose to go back to full-time employment.
So that’s a huge thing for me, but there are other huge benefits too. I love the fact I can pivot into different things, which always allows me to keep things fresh.
About four times a year I reassess my priorities and lay out new goals for the short, medium and long term. They might involve starting a new blog, writing another book, learning a new marketable skill. For somebody like me who relishes variety, I love having total control of this.
5. How can a person find their first freelancing job?
There are SO many ways to find freelance jobs. I have an article listing 50 different options!
However, they broadly split into two categories that I call “real world” and “online world.”
It’s always worth starting out by thinking of your real life networks. As I’ve said, many freelancers do their first self-employed work for people who already know them. I’d advise people to think about any contacts who’ve already seen the kind of work they’re capable of. These are “warm leads” that are well worth perusing.
It makes sense to think about personal contacts as well as business contacts, too. Plenty of freelancers find clients who are their “wife’s best friend’s brother” or something like that!
Remaining in the “real world,” there are also options like local business groups and networking events – although they are obviously far less accessible at the present time.
Moving to the online world, the freelance job boards are the place to be. They can be intimidating places initially, and it’s crucial to learn how to use them and how to avoid scammers and low paying clients. But there are plenty of great clients out there, including many household name companies who use those boards to hire freelancers.
Often, a quick one-off $50 job can evolve into a long and lucrative client relationship. My wife and I both have clients who we first met on the freelance boards years ago. We still work with them now.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to where to find the first client, but there are options for everybody.
6. How does a freelancer decide what to set their rates at?
This is a question I’m asked a LOT! The answer leads to lots more questions, and I think many of my readers are disappointed when I don’t just give them an answer of “$x per hour” or “$x per article!”
It’s a subject I cover in my Freelance Kickstarter course, and I’m happy to share a slide from that particular lesson here. The factors to consider include tangible things like the “market rates” for specific types of work, and how each client’s geographical location could impact how much they expect to pay.
But there’s much more to consider beyond that: How much does the gig align with your long-term goals? Will the job produce a great example of work that will help you win more clients in the future? Is this a job that could lead to on-going, long-term work?
I guess a simpler answer is that your rate needs to be fair and competitive, and sufficient to make it worth your while to do the job. However, the rate for each job really needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The reality is that there are millions of freelancers out there charging vastly different rates, often for very similar services. There’s a bit of an art to working out where you sit on the pricing spectrum, but it’s an art you can learn, and it gets easier with experience.
7. What steps does a person need to take to make money as a freelancer?
The first and most important is working out what it is you actually want to do. That may seem obvious, but my inbox is full of emails from people asking what they should do, without telling me what they’re capable of and what kind of work would make them happy.
I will attempt to lay it out in a fairly simple series of steps:
- Work out what skills you have and what market there is for them.
- Look at who else is providing those services, what they charge, and what you can provide that will make you stand out and appeal to clients.
- Identify any gaps in your knowledge and experience, and work to fill them. This could mean doing some training, or doing some voluntary jobs to bulk out your portfolio.
- Establish a personal brand. This isn’t as big a deal as it sounds, but does mean having a solid resumé and LinkedIn profile, and sometimes some other ways to demonstrate your expertise.
- Learn how the freelance job boards work. Even if you have a rich personal network to draw on, it’s wise to understand the wider world of freelancing.
- Put yourself out there, and start pitching and applying for things.
- Make sure you provide perfect work and delight your clients, so that they want to work with you again and recommend you to others.
Repeating and refining these steps is the essence of becoming a successful freelancer.
8. How much does it cost to start this type of business and how much on a monthly basis to maintain it?
Freelancing is generally a low-cost venture, but that’s not to say it’s free. Depending on what you do, you may need specialist equipment and / or software. And if you’re switching from an employed position, you may have to buy things like this yourself for the first time.
A good computer is a must, as it’s often the key tool of your trade. You may also need to budget for things like insurance, possibly including healthcare cover if you are somewhere like the US where this isn’t covered by tax payments.
When it comes to monthly costs, the main things I pay for include software subscriptions and insurance policies. Thankfully these tend to build over time and no individual thing is particularly expensive. You can start out as an online freelancer without even having a personal website, and add things like that once you gain some momentum.
I also recommend budgeting for ongoing training and learning. Thankfully there are all kinds of ways to learn online inexpensively. Companies have training budgets, but when you’re a freelancer, keeping your skills on point is on you.
9. What kind of training is needed to become a freelancer?
I’d say the training splits into two: learning about freelancing itself, and building skills around the specific work you want to do.
Courses like my own Freelance Kickstarter cover the first part. Freelancing is a skill in itself, and we’ve covered some of the important areas in this interview already. Stuff like setting rates isn’t immediately obvious, so learning from those who have been there and done it already is very valuable.
When it comes to skills-specific training it depends what work you’re doing. Let’s say somebody wanted to work as a freelance social media manager. Not that long ago it would have been all about Twitter and Facebook. Nowadays Pinterest is a much bigger deal for many people, and TikTok is emerging as the latest trend.
So as that freelancer, you need to decide what you’re going to focus on. Do you want to be the “go-to guru” for TikTok, or be more of a generalist with social media in general?
It’s wonderful to have the choice.
10. Are there any other tips that you have for someone who wants to become a freelancer?
I have many!
The one I repeat over and over is that you have to eventually go for it and make the jump. I see a lot of people who never get past the “thinking about it” phase. Meanwhile the go-getters have taken the leap of faith and started to build success.
Moving to freelancing is one of those things where there may never be a perfect time to do it. Those who keep waiting for that time to arrive can easily find themselves looking back ten years later with the same commute and the same job.
Another thing I’m like a broken record about is the importance of “paying your dues.” There are often plenty of less-than-ideal gigs to finish successfully before you arrive at the amazing ones.
I wrote about some really dull topics in my early days of freelance writing, for example. But I had to wade through that stuff to build my reputation. It all felt thoroughly worth it a few years later when I was being well paid for travel articles and restaurant reviews!
You learn something from every job along the way: How to handle clients, renegotiate rates, refine your skills, and get work done more efficiently so that you’re boosting the value of your time. Freelancing isn’t supposed to be easy but it’s almost always challenging, interesting and rewarding.
And let’s face it, many people don’t feel that way about their jobs.
11. What can a person learn from your course? Can you tell us about some of the people who have successfully taken your course?
OK, so Freelance Kickstarter expands on all of the topics I’ve touched on here, and many others. It’s intended to remove confusion, and that feeling of overwhelm that often descends when researching this stuff online. It helps new freelancers make a clear plan for getting started. As the strapline goes, the idea is that people “stop wasting time, and start making money!”
I never intended to create a course, but after running the HomeWorkingClub website for several years, it became clear there was a space for something like this. I make it very clear that it’s not some kind of “get rich quick” scheme.
To be brutally honest, I don’t want students who are looking for shortcuts. There is real hard work involved in being a successful freelancer, but it’s a more than viable option for those willing to do what’s required.
The course starts with the basics of working out what you can do and want to do, and presents LOTS of different options. It then moves on to auditing your skills and experience, building your brand, and working out your own personal goals. I particularly like that section because it helps people learn the exact process I use myself every few months to keep things moving forward.
The next lessons cover finding clients, and there’s a big module on learning how to use freelance job boards like Upwork. Once people have completed this, they will know how to uncover the good and genuine jobs, and how to side-step the time-drains and scams.
Students also learn about setting rates, and all the other practicalities of running a freelance business, from getting the tech right to taking undisturbed holidays! We also cover side gigs, and long-term slow-burn projects like blogs and self-published books.
I provide personal support on the course, and people can ask me all the questions they need as they go along. There are also regular exclusive podcasts with extra advice and news of industry developments and new opportunities.
In terms of people who have already taken the course, I recently published a case study from a lady called Lyn. She now has “more work than she can handle” as a freelance writer working via Upwork. Two things that have particularly pleased me about her situation is that she’s cherry-picking projects that interest her, and that she’s been able to do exactly what I suggest in increasing her rates as she builds experience and reputation.
I’ve also had great feedback from people at a much earlier stage. I’ve kept the course price low so that people can use it to help decide if freelancing is for them – just dipping their toes in for the first time.
As one student said, the course is “ideal if you are considering going freelance and don’t know where or when to start, or even if freelancing is for you.”
Several of the testimonials so far have aligned perfectly with the original objective, which was – essentially – to help people see the wood for the trees in an environment than can seem very daunting to begin with.
I set out to create the course I wish I’d had! I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes in over 16 years of freelancing. The people taking Freelance Kickstarter should hopefully be able to avoid the same ones!
Click here to learn more about Freelance Kickstarter.
Are you interested in learning how to become a freelancer?
The post How To Become a Freelancer and Make a Full-Time Income appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.
If a fire happens, will your important documents stay safe?
Apartment dwellers need to be proactive about protecting critical information in case of a fire. Plenty of us have gone digital when it comes to storage of personal information, but certain items still need to come in hard copies. And some things, other than papers, also need a tangible safe place.
The safety deposit box at the local bank is still an option. However, bank hours aren’t always aligned with yours. If you want to go the digital route, look for companies that specialize in the storage of critical data. You can access your info directly from your phone, tablet or Amazon’s Alexa device. But if you prefer to go more old school â you need to think about protecting your valuables that are difficult to replace.
What will you need easy access to when you’re in an emergency fire crisis? Your list will probably look like this: an original birth certificate, social security card, insurance papers and car titles and other original docs. You could also include spare keys, passports and irreplaceable items like heirloom jewelry. A fireproof safe box will give you peace of mind. And, it will act as a security measure should a fire occur.
Are all fire safe boxes the same?
Did you know that not all fire safe boxes are alike? For example, standard fireproof safes protect your valuables against intense heat and smoke damage for periods of up to 120 minutes, according to Western Safe, while others can withstand the heat for longer. So, what’s the best type of fireproof box? Experts say it all depends on what you intend to store.
You should look for a fire safe box that has emergency override keys so you can open it up even if you forget the passcode. The keys are also good if the batteries run out on the keypad.
To help you know what things to keep in a fire safe box in your apartment, we’ve organized a list. These items make good sense to safeguard against fire:
- Critical documents: Store your checking and savings account bank books, birth certificates, social security cards, wills and passports in a fire safe box. If you need to get out at a moment’s notice, these important documents will be safe and accessible.
- Digital media: Your digital must-haves include USB sticks, memory cards and CDs. These items are your physical back-up. And this is especially true if you don’t want your most private data to live on remote servers.
- Insurance policies: Talk to your insurance company about your renters insurance following the fire. Having access right away to your policy will help you to take action post-fire.
- Cash: Life today is debit and credit card-driven. But it’s also smart to keep a stash of small bills on hand. If an emergency calls for quick cash, you’ll be glad you thought ahead and put some aside.
- Other valuables: Remember to organize a file with essential information. Include emergency numbers of family members. Have your prescriptions, who your family doctor is and contact info for your pet’s vet, too.
Do your homework
Before purchasing a fire safe box, be sure to research what’s on the market. You’ll be surprised to find a range of choices. You can even select from fireproof safes that you can bolt to the ground or wall. Is the fire safe box waterproof? If not, be sure to protect all contents by storing them in plastic.
An official fire rating from the Underwriters Laboratory comes with all safes, according to Haven Life. The rating lets you know what temperature the fire safe box will stay inside during a fire. It will also let you know how long it will stay at that temperature.
Look for fire safe boxes that are either 125 degrees Fahrenheit or 325-degrees safe. They typically come with up to three hours’ worth of protection. Spruce reports that some fire safe boxes can withstand fires with temperatures up to 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
Does size matter?
Fire safe boxes are compact to mid-size and come in a range to meet your needs. You can find options with a capacity of 0.17 cubic feet and weighing in at just 14 pounds. Or, one that weighs a little less than 28 pounds and can store flat 8-1/2-by-11-inch, letter-sized documents.
Extra-large capacity fire boxes can hold much more. They can weigh more than 100 pounds and measure more than 1-1/2-feet on each side. But the size is worth it because it gives your stuff a greater chance of surviving a disaster, according to Wirecutter. The site recommends a fire safe box the size of a mini-fridge that weighs in at 56 pounds.
Choose a fire safe box that has all the protective features and benefits to keep your important documents safe. In the long run, the investment could prove to be a wise one.
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