So, How Do You Store/Keep Your Documents Safe in the RV? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 01-21-2016, 09:16 PM   #1
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So, How Do You Store/Keep Your Documents Safe in the RV?

I guess this question is mainly for the full timers among us... though I guess it could apply to those who take longer trips but still maintain a home somewhere.

How do you store/protect your files & important documents in the RV?

The reason I bring this up is... recently, an nearby RV owner out here in AZ had to stand around & watch as his RV went up in flames last week. I saw the news reports when it happened, but I heard more of the story yesterday from a neighbor here in the park who knew the guy.

As it so often does, the fire began because the guy was using a kerosene heater one night when something obviously went wrong. I didn't get into the specifics of that... but the neighbor was mentioning how the guy had lost all of his important paperwork in the fire. The title to his truck, his military discharge, all his financial paperwork, etc, etc.

I seem to recall reading that some of the newer models are coming equipped with a hotel-type safe located somewhere in the rig... but that was an option I didn't notice in 2013, so needless to say, I don't have it.

But I've always had one of those fireproof file boxes in my house... and when I began full timing last year, I brought it with me. I still haven't found a good place to keep it that's both, convenient to get to when needed, and out of the way when not... but at least I have it.

Of course, it's no where near large enough to hold all of my files (I've got most of the ordinary stuff in a rolling 2-drawer file that I also brought from the house) but it is large enough to hold my old tax files, titles, birth certificate, DD-214, etc... plus a few other things one wouldn't want to lose via theft or fire.

Anyway, I just thought I'd throw this out there, as it might be something worth considering.

2013 VOLTAGE 3200 (EPIC I & II)
2014 Ford F-450 PLATINUM
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:32 PM   #2
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My V3605 came with a safe that is under the bed. How fire proof it is I don't want to find out.

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Old 01-22-2016, 12:07 AM   #3
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I'd suggest a few approaches. Do you really want to keep all your important papers in the RV? Yes, I know it's a pain if you need something, but it would be more of a pain if you lost them. Perhaps a safety deposit box where a trusted family member can access it for you, and send a needed document. I'm a believer in copies and backups from years in the IT field. I keep encrypted copies of my passport, drivers license and a few other key documents on my iPhone, and in a secure cloud storage location. I may not have the original, but at least I can show a copy, and have the document numbers. I do take our passports when we travel, one never knows when you will need the ultimate ID. For things you keep in the RV, a high quality fire rated safe sounds like a good idea. As far as where to store it, good question. Under the bed is one idea. It's a more secure location than a storage compartment, but ultimately, not that secure. Our V 3105 does not have the accessible storage location in the garage floor, but I know some do. Is there enough depth in there for a small fire rated safe? It's not a location that someone not familiar with our toy haulers would typically know about, or look for. One down side in a fire is it's close to the gas tanks in the rear. Under the bed, perhaps with a faux wood cover to make it look like part of the bulkhead? Again, multiple copies versus all located in one location is probably a good strategy.
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Old 01-22-2016, 01:07 AM   #4
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I use the smallest, best rated fire safe I can find, I don't keep a lot in it. it is large enough for a few important papers and a couple of side arms and ammunition. I make copies of all my critical documents and keep them on a encrypted extreme thumb drive that lives on a chain around my neck, a second and third flash drive are also created, one lives in my safe deposit box, another in my fire proof safe. I only keep paper documents with me that I have to have. The rest are stored in a safe deposit box at a bank that I deal with. FWIW I keep backups of my computer, tablets and phones in there too. I have a couple of encrypted hard drives that I routinely back things up to, and swap the drives out every 2-3 weeks. One is stored in my safe deposit box, the other is stored in a fire safe away from my main residence.

There was a great website written by a guy that survived Katrina through various means. He has a whole list of things that you need to consider and do. He actually takes time to make lists for everything from a few seconds notice, to several weeks notice. It pays to plan. I can't find the link at the moment, but when I locate it I will post it. I am not a Prepper in the current sense of the word, but I believe in being prepared to take care of myself and my family in any situation we are likely to encounter.

Years ago I took disaster response training. A couple of interesting things I learned was the typical expected response times by the various government entities. Too bad more people aren't aware of them and better prepared.
  • First 24 hours YOYO (your own your own)
  • 24-72 hours local government response
  • 72-120 hours State level response
  • After 120 hours the Federal Government should be able to respond in most cases
Too many people expect immediate response from the authorities, not realizing that they are dealing with exactly the same thing they are. I had to laugh at the lines for water and ice in southern Florida after one of the smaller hurricanes crossed the state, it had not even cleared the Atlantic coast and people were already lined up and clamoring for ice and water. REALLY? You have known for almost a week the freaking thing was coming why didn't YOU prepare?

There is madness to my methods
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Old 01-22-2016, 03:05 AM   #5
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We use a portable fire-proof safe. Any trip we take we take the safe.
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