Three reasons you need a safe with deposit slot

There are a wide range of safes available to purchase, but not each type will suit your requirements. With data safes, deposit safes, and fireproof safes to choose from, you need to assess your situation and work out which safe will do the job! If you work in retail or high-control environments, here are three reasons you need a safe with deposit slot.

1) Security

Deposit safes make use of a deposit slot, which allows you to deposit valuable items and money without ever opening the safe. This is great for security as employees can deposit goods into the safe, but at no point have the opportunity to withdraw from it. Only the key holder will have access to the contents, but it’s completely open for a deposit from anybody with access to the safe itself.

Imagine a deposit safe in the retail industry. You have a high turnover of cash, and tills need emptying into a safe. Instead of exposing the ever-growing pile of money sitting inside the safe, employees simply feed the money through the deposit slot. It’s the most secure safe in this scenario.

2) Convenience

A safe with deposit slot provides the utmost convenience when you deposit more than you withdraw. All you have to do is approach the safe and make use of the deposit slot!

If you didn’t have a safe with deposit slot, each employee who uses the safe would need a key providing – which comes with a whole host of risks. Keys can be lost, there may be untrustworthy people, and there’s an additional cost of getting keys cut. All-in-all, deposit safes are the best solution for retail, shops and other high-control environments.

3) Versatility

Whereas a home safe is, unsurprisingly, perfectly suited to your home – deposit safes are surprisingly versatile. While they’re ideal for retail scenarios, deposit safes can easily be used at home, in your business, and some can even be fitted in vehicles.

Vehicle deposit safes are specialist models that are ideal for use in vans and lorries on delivery rounds. They use base plates to attach to the vehicle, ensuring the safe cannot be moved without a key. The safe can be removed from the base plate while still restricting access to the contents, meaning cash is always safe – even in transit.

Hopefully now you understand the benefits of choosing a safe with deposit slot. We stock a bunch of secure deposit safes from the most trustworthy brands in the market! If you need any more information then give our friendly sales team a call on 01724 281044.

Secure in plain view: The virtues of wire mesh lockers

No nasty surprises lurk inside wire mesh lockers, which combine high levels of security whilst leaving contents completely visible. That means their contents are not only safe from pilfering and unauthorised ‘borrowing’, but are out of harm’s way when it comes to the safety of others using the premises.

It’s important, expensive and compulsory, and yet it can melt away like April snow. We’re talking Personal Protective Equipment, without which no construction site can operate safely or legally.

The trouble is, no-one except the people who buy it realise how expensive it can be, with the result that the end user can see it as having no monetary value at all, and treats it accordingly. It gets lost, buried under other materials in the back of the van, and generally abused. Why not? It’s easy enough to get more from the stores, isn’t it?

Well, it probably is, which is fine for the employee short of a pair of expensive leather gloves, but it’s a drain on company resources, and ultimately, harms the bottom line.

Protect profits with wire mesh lockers

The way to stem the unnecessary spending could well be… more spending. However, don’t think of it as that; think of it as investing in profit protection, which it would be if the spending was on wire mesh lockers. Better than conventional construction site lockers, wire mesh lockers offer complete protection of what’s inside, but (due to their wire mesh construction) couple that with complete visibility.

Kept close to the signing in book, where everyone needs to be at the start and end of their shift, a range of these lockers would give each employee a safe place to store their PPE when they’re not wearing it and it’s immediately obvious if someone is missing a vital piece of kit.

Wire Mesh Lockers: Essential for a booming industry

Let us think, for a moment, about the future of construction. Major projects are in the offing, like HS2, and some house builders are saying Brexit hasn’t dulled the demand for new homes at all. What’s more, according to the Office for National Statistics, there were almost 180,000 more people in work during the March to May quarter this year. A lot of them will need PPE of some description, and they’re gong to need somewhere to keep it.

Wire Mesh Lockers
All the models in our range of wire mesh lockers have modern construction site workers’ needs in mind. The wire mesh allows air to circulate, so that soiled and damp clothing can air properly, even though it’s stored securely and visibly.

As well as security, why else do we love wire mesh lockers

Wire mesh lockers can be an aid to good housekeeping too. Conventional construction site lockers can be hiding places for all sorts of unpleasant things, such as unwashed socks and shirts, or an uneaten piece of fruit from an old packed lunch. Apart from being unhygienic, such things can add to the general unpleasant fustiness of locker rooms. However, their visibility, thanks to the construction of a wire mesh locker, is obvious to all, with the result that peer pressure or management intervention can quickly sort the situation out.

The good housekeeping theme extends to larger wire mesh lockers, which might reasonably be called wire mesh cupboards. These are perfect for all kinds of storage needs, from the cleaners’ store of vacuums, dusters, mops and buckets to the PE teacher’s collection of bats, balls and other exercise essentials.

Another invaluable feature of wire mesh lockers is about safety, of power tools in domestic and light industrial settings, for example. Not only do such lockers keep expensive tools away from prying fingers, it prevents these tools from being knocked over causing damage to themselves as well as other items in the vicinity.

Flexible in construction

Our wire mesh lockers are made to order, and come in a variety of configurations, so there’s bound to be at least one that’s ideal for your needs. Galvanised for a bright and durable finish, they’re all made from tough steel wire, and come in three depths, each with a number of options in the same space – including being sub-divided into six individual lockers.

To complete the security, each locker is provided with a hasp and staple to which you can add the padlock of your choice, or employees could supply their own. If you need any help with this, then you can also view our sister website’s range of high security padlocks.

Laptop Lockers, Laptop Safes and more: Top tips to store your laptop securely

This article provides laptop storage ideas to secure your laptop making essential reading for all types of laptop user.

This year, the 9th February marks Safer Internet Day which is co-ordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre. This event is aimed at raising awareness and thought surrounding how the internet is used and to encourage safe use by all. At Safety Storage Centre, this got us thinking about safety in connection with the device that millions use to access the internet – the laptop. What are the best ways to keep that expensive piece of kit safe?

In celebration of Safer Internet Day, Safety Storage Centre have come up with 5 top tips on how to keep your laptop safe and secure:

1. Buy a Laptop Security Case for when you are on the move. These cases are specifically designed to protect the laptop and its fragile and delicate components by having key padding and protection in all the right places. Importantly, their design is understated and discreet to avoid advertising the presence of a laptop to any potential thieves. They are also extremely convenient for the user by having plenty of storage space for notes, magazines and papers and this presents a major advantage to any traveller.

2. At Safety Storage Centre, our laptop security cases come fitted with a security cable and the proper use of this device is our second top tip for secure storage of your laptop. These cables tend to be made from steel and they allow you to attach your laptop to a fixed object for when you need to leave the device temporarily. This provides an added layer of safe storage for when you are in public places or for when you need to leave the laptop for an extended period of time at work or at college.

Laptop Security
 

3. Regardless of the presence of a security cable, whether you are at school, in the workplace or travelling, you should ensure that you keep your laptop within your sight as much as possible. When this is not possible and you have to leave your laptop for long periods of time, you should store your laptop somewhere safe and secure rather than leaving it lying around unprotected. Laptop safes are ideal for this purpose, particularly in the residential, hotel or business setting. They are very easy to operate and feature modern electronic locking systems. For the school or heavily populated work environment, laptop lockers are a good bet as they have separate, secure compartments to allow for the safe storage of a number of laptops. This makes them ideal for environments with lots of laptop computers.

4. Ensure that you think about the heat generated by the key electrical components of your laptop. When charging your laptop, heat is generated by the electrical components and there are secure storage solutions specifically designed with this in mind to facilitate safe charging of the device. These are known as laptop charging trolleys and laptop charging lockers. They are specifically designed with ventilated compartments to ensure that heat is dissipated during charging. The trolleys are particularly useful by allowing for easy movement of the laptops, making them a highly portable safe storage solution. The trolleys even come in a narrow width option which is great for navigating between rows of desks in school and college environments.

5. Finally, as an added precaution, ensure that you keep a note of the make, model, serial and service number of your laptop. Then, in the event of the worst case happening and your laptop being stolen or going missing, you will be able to provide this information to the police and it may just help in tracing the device at a later date.

Finally, a bonus top tip…:

Visit the Safety Storage Centre to view our extensive range of laptop storage products.

Picture: Martin Clark via Flickr

What Grandma learned from Benjamin Franklin about safe storage

Familiarity can breed contempt when it comes to storing hazardous substances in the workplace. Doing it right requires not only the right equipment, but also the right understanding of the risks involved by everyone on the premises. Safety Storage Centre explains…

A place for everything, and everything in its place; that’s what Grandma always used to say. Well, mine did, at least. We tend to think of Grandmas as the fount of all wisdom, and so often they are, but in this instance she’d pinched the thought from that great 18th-century American innovator Benjamin Franklin.

It was a piece of wisdom Franklin needed; his life was busier than most. He was an author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, and diplomat. His life would have been chaos if he hadn’t been tidy!

Grandma was encouraging tidiness so her house didn’t look a mess – but it’s a trait that, on a serious note, helps us to keep modern workplaces safe.

‘Things’ in our lives are more numerous than they were in Franklin’s lifetime 300 years ago (and Grandma’s, much more recently). We have inventions neither of them could have imagined, and that includes the dangerous substances forming part of our everyday lives.

Storing hazardous substances safely

Because they’re so familiar, we can forget just how dangerous some of these substances are when they are mishandled or stored incorrectly. This is where we should recall the ‘place for everything’ thought, because part of preventing harm is the way, and the place, these substances are stored.

It starts with the immediate container for any substance, which should never be decanted into another container. We’ve all read the stories about children drinking from pop bottles in to which toxic liquids have been poured – and the horrible consequences. Original bottles and drums have all manner of important warning information on them, which should stay with the contents. That’s why the activity in our picture is wrong on so many levels. Storing drinking water in a petrol can is as foolhardy as storing fuel in a lemonade bottle, and should never be done.

Then where should these substances be kept?

Examination of the COSHH regulations is a good place to start. COSHH stands for Control of Substances Hazardous to Health, and is legislation enacted in 1988 and revised in 2002. COSHH essentials is a guide produced by the Health and Safety Executive, and includes information about safe practices for storing hazardous substances in all facilities, but especially where vulnerable people such as children the elderly and adults with learning difficulties could conceivably come into contact with them.

The counter to these dangers is the use of purpose-designed storage for hazardous substances in the workplace – COSHH cabinets

Hazardous Chemicals

What is a COSHH cabinet?

COSHH cabinets contain hazardous substances in the workplace in two ways. Firstly, they are robust and lockable, to prevent unauthorized people from getting at the chemicals inside, and secondly, their design includes spill containment to prevent the chemicals from getting out. Careful control of the keys ensures that only responsible people have access to the contents.

The cabinets are perfect for use in a multitude of diverse locations where storing hazardous substances in the workplace is unavoidable – think of the cleaning products needed in every school, for example.

Which COSHH cabinet?

Deciding on which COSHH cabinet – or indeed any kind of safe storage cabinet – is about what you need to store, and how much of them there are. The volumes of some substances, of course, are limited by rules and regulations that describe safe practices for storing hazardous substances.

More information about what you want to store is to be found in the HSE information mentioned above, the DSEAR 2002 regulations, or the HSG51 guidance about storage of flammable liquids. Look out for spill containment capability, and decide if the cabinet you need should be free-standing, wall mounted, or on wheels, capable of being taken to the location in which the substances inside are to be used. There are circumstances in which any of these would be the most appropriate.

What else do I need to do?

Substances sealed in their original containers pose little or no danger. It’s only when they are put in the wrong place or used in the wrong way that the danger levels increase, and that’s down to people.

Every individual’s behaviour can turn a safely stored substance into a hazard, so it’s important that everyone has some degree of training. At its most basic level it’s about awareness that the substances are there, and that they should be avoided. (In a school, for example, pupils just need to know that the caretaker’s cupboard is out of bounds and that they’re not allowed in).

Training will be more for people who need to work with the substances. They’ll need to know the correct method of handling them, what personal protective clothing must be worn, and where they must be used (in a fume cupboard, perhaps, or at least a well-ventilated space). They’ll also need to know where they can be stored, and with what other substances – if they’re allowed to be stored with anything else at all.

So it seems Ben Franklin and Grandma were right after all. Everything does have a place, and should be kept in it, for everyone’s safety.

Cash safe: A safe haven for the family silver

Protecting portable valuables and hard-to-trace cash requires robust security solutions. Safety Storage Centre helps you choose the right cash safe by guiding you through the things to think about when looking to keep family silver in the family, and shows the models which offer that protection.

The best part of 100 years ago, a nationally-known businessman made a philanthropic gesture to a club in his home town by giving a silver rose bowl to be competed for annually.

Family Silver

It was, indeed still is, a magnificent thing, almost a foot wide and decorated with beautiful chased decoration, his name and the date; a tribute to the craftsman who made it. After a few years the club decided it was too valuable to spend all year in the home of whoever won it, so it went into the bank for safe keeping, coming out once a year to be presented.

And that’s how the arrangement stayed for decades, during which time the trophy has become a piece of social history. But in the last few years the security climate has changed, and the banks have stopped providing safety deposit boxes; no longer will people be able to rest easy knowing that their valuables are as safe as money in the bank.

New thinking on the security safe

As far back as three years ago some of the high street banks such as Barclays, Lloyds, and NatWest have closed their safety deposit box service to new customers, although some were allowing existing users to remain. Recently HSBC deposit boxes have become unavailable. It’s not a problem only restricted to the UK; it’s around the world.

But if the service is ultimately withdrawn completely from every bank, what then for owners of irreplaceable valuables like the club rose bowl, Grandma’s jewellery or the family silver. Selling the valuables is one option to remove the worry of security provision, but I’d suggest that’s unthinkable. Quite apart from merely moving the security issue and its associated worry elsewhere, it’s just another way of a club or individual losing their heritage.

A much better option is to do it yourself by investing in a cash safe and keeping valuables at home. But it’s not simply a case of rushing out and buying a product, even though it may look as though they all do much the same thing. Care is needed in its selection.

Choosing security safes

As I’ve advocated before on this blog, selection of the right safe should start with what’s to be stored in it. You’ll need to think about:

  • How big it is. It doesn’t matter Cash Safehow good the safe is if what you’re trying to protect is just too big to fit inside
  • What its worth. Safes have ratings based on the value of the cash or jewellery to be stored inside. They must be clearly shown in any product description. Bear in mind that some things have a sentimental value over and above how much money they’re worth, so you’ll need to take account of that too
  • Its resistance to attempts at burglary. Different ‘strengths’ are available. Look for one appropriate to your valuables. Numbers start at S0 and go up to S6; the higher the number, the stronger the safe
  • Anything else you might need to store. You’ve invested in a safe; it would be foolhardy not to maximise its value in use
  • Where you’ll keep it. To be really effective, cash safes needs to be bolted to the wall or floor. It’s not uncommon for thieves to take the safe away without opening it, so they can do that at their leisure. We’d advocate installation by experts, and we can provide that service
  • How it locks. Models come with keys, combinations or even biometric locks that need your fingerprint to open them. The latter group, including this cash safe, offers protection for valuables worth up to £100,000

Tell your insurance company

We’d also urge you to get in touch with your insurance company to be quite clear that you’ve added significantly to the value of your house contents. Some companies could insist you have appropriate secure storage before granting cover. And whilst you’re looking at that, check that the premium covers you for taking the item out of the home.

You might also like to consider the use of cash safes as part of a wider security solution including intruder alarms and CCTV systems, creating multi-layer protection for your home and valuables.

All of the cash safe product pages at the Safety Storage Centre have more detailed information to help guide you through the selection process. We’d advise getting the right specification for your valuables, and remember that it’s not as easy to get into a safe as it often appears to be in films!

Click to visit our full range of cash safes.

Why workplace lockers are as important to a building as electricity

The options for lockers at work are probably wider today than they’ve ever been. Not only do they store and protect, but they bring colour and functionality as well as germ-killing power. Safety Storage Centre opens the door to the possibilities offered by lockers – which is much more than just storage.

Work place lockers
In the past few years I’ve seen two good examples of what I mean. The first was a pizza restaurant which came up with a recipe that was very complicated to make, and so took longer to create in the kitchen.The devil is in the detail. You’ve heard the phrase before. Detail is what makes or breaks a design; what makes something practical or impractical.

The second was a company that moved to a sleek new building which won accolades for its remarkable architectural boldness and sleek lines, but had no storage lockers for its users, leaving them with nowhere to store their tools, coats and other equipment.

Two examples; one problem

Two apparently diverse examples had fallen victim to the same problem – a dislocation between designer and user.

Those who had designed the pizza weren’t the ones having to put it together with customers growing increasingly impatient as orders backed up in the kitchen.

Those who had designed the building never had to worry about having lockers for their wet coats, unused work wear or expensive personal tools.

In the former case, the result was a slower turnaround of tables and reduced revenue. That was easily resolved. The recipe was taken off the menu.

In the latter case, the lack of lockers caused piles of clothing and toolboxes in corridors, not only ruining the clean lines that had earned such praise, but also causing tripping hazards and making theft possible.

Why effective lockers for work make buildings function well

Workplace lockers were eventually provided, of course. But how much more effective would it have been to consider the end use in the first place, and have effective storage lockers – in all parts of the building – an integral part of its design?

Would the building have been designed without an electricity supply? Of course not! It wouldn’t have functioned. But without lockers, it didn’t function as well as it might have done from Day One.

Workplace lockers – in any kind of environment – always have something to add to a building’s aesthetic as well as its functionality. Combinations of size, colour, shape, construction material, locking mechanism and intended use mean it’s virtually impossible not to find lockers that offer the perfect combination of form and function for any application. Here’s how:

Unlocking the potential of lockers

  • School lockers: Bright colours lift the environment; child-friendly sizes suit smaller users; easy to ‘personalise’ for the early days at school; less danger of taking the wrong coat home, so fewer problems to sort out for staff; school lockers can be nested to fit as many as possible. Even available with anti-bacterial coatings to control infections – multi-functionality at its best!
  • Garment lockers: Designed to dispense and collect clean and dirty work wear; smaller spaces to store personal items; anti-bacterial coatings to the same 99.9% germ-kill standard as the leading domestic bleaches; manufactured using steel produced in a lower-carbon process; small in-use footprint.
  • Wire mesh lockers: Maximum storage capacity; maximum visibility of contents. Great for situations where multiple users need access to contents that need to be kept tidy; mesh lockers are fantastic for use as retail display resources thanks to their robust yet bright electroplated zinc finish; available with a number of compartment combinations that can nest or stand alone.
  • Sports lockers: Gym membership is fashionable, and the right selection of sports lockers and their interior fittings can add to the customer experience – an important consideration in a crowded marketplace. Combining sports lockers with themed island seating helps, as does the option to select colours to theme with gym branding, or multiple compartments in the same overall locker space. Also made from sustainable steel, and coated with anti-bacterial finishes.
  • Personal effects lockers: Thinking outside the box of locker design has put more versatility into the box. Varying internal widths maximise the storage potential for staff members; separation of clean and dirty clothes is achieved, and they are also available galvanised to stand up to frequent washing down in dirty areas. There are even ‘semi-detached’ versions available, allowing two users to share the same space, but with discrete access to their own things.
  • Heavy duty lockers: Faced with a tougher than usual area that still needs storage lockers? Models are available made from 70% heavier gauge steel than normal, offering greater rigidity, stability and durability.
  • Even general purpose lockers punch above their weight, offered in large and small widths, with up to six doors and in five colours, there must be a combination that will make your workplace cleaner, safer – and more efficient.Visit our full range of lockers here.

Why cloud storage is not always useful

Cloud storage is fine, but it can have its limitations. It’s a great place for storing information in vast quantities, but completely useless for the physical records that information has been taken from.

Certainly old information can be digitised and stored on the cloud, but what then happens to the original? This train of thought covers all manner of material that is just; well, too important to be destroyed, but not important enough to be kept immediately to hand.

National Archives at Kew

Consider all the documents stored in the National Archives at Kew:

• Firstly, there can be a great deal of it, as anyone who has visited the National Archives at Kew will testify

• Secondly, storing it in the wrong kind of conditions might cause it to deteriorate

• Thirdly, it might not be needed for months or even years. And who would think of destroying Lincoln’s copy of the Magna Carta or the Domesday Books in this picture by Andrew Barclay, just because a copy had been kept on the cloud?

Clearly, special storage has to be arranged, asking the important questions:-

• How do you select a suitable site?
• Who will look after the material?
• How will it be accessed from storage, or taken to it?
• What sort of conditions must it be kept under, and how will the process be managed?

Documents

The National Archives, as you’d expect, is the UK’s leading authority on record-keeping for England and Wales, and holds material stretching back through time for more than 1,000 years. It has produced an excellent guide advising organisations on what issues need to be addressed when developing an offsite store for documents and records.

The extensive document draws attention to a dozen areas it advises need attention, and works through the process with sound hints and tips about areas as diverse as location, transport arrangements, and what to do with particularly vulnerable items.

It offers suggested questions to ask, and explains why they need to be asked. And it also draws attention to other legislation which might have a bearing on storage plans for any public body – including the Public Records Act 1958, the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 1992/3240.

So, when it comes to taking on the very latest in storage systems, remember that there will always be room for ‘old school’ solutions to certain areas of storage problems, which is when ‘old school’ will never go out of style.

View our range of fireproof filing cabinets, fireproof safes and fireproof data safes which provide effective alternatives to cloud storage for your important records and documents.

Reasons for bolting down a safe

There’s no secret about the fact that at Safety Storage Centre we pride ourselves on providing high security. In fact we live and breathe it, and part of that involves keeping an eye on security trends around the world – to help you make your home and business more secure.

The latest trend we’ve spotted is safe-stealing. And there’s hardly a week goes by when we don’t read about someone becoming a victim of crime not only because they’ve been robbed, but because audacious thieves have made off with a safe AS WELL as its contents.

Stealing a Safe

 

The most audacious theft – and there have been many – came to light when the owner of a safe was called by police to say his safe had been found 15 miles from where it should have been. What makes this theft particularly alarming was that the safe weighed 500kg, and had been, the last time he saw it, behind a locked door in a self-storage unit.

The self-storage facility had an electric fence around it. Can’t fault that. It had a monitored CCTV system. Can’t fault that either. There was a lock on the unit door. You’d expect that in a self-storage facility.

The chink in the armour was that the safe wasn’t bolted down. Remember, this safe weighed 500kg, and its contents would have made it weigh even more. But that would have been of little consequence to anyone with enough determination to get past an electric fence, CCTV and a locked door. The right kind of bolts used to fasten this safe to the ground would very probably have beaten the thieves, and the owner would still have had his property.

But here’s why you might be wasting your money by buying a safe: if a thief can pick it up and take it away, your valuables might as well not be in a safe at all, because that’s the last thing they’ll be – safe. Remember the cautionary tale of this victim involved a 500kg safe. Anything smaller will be easier to steal.

To make a safe really safe, bolt it down.

Why you should never relax about security when you travel

I was once the victim of pickpockets – almost. Only the intervention of my wife, who had been standing a little way away, was able to stop the thieves in their tracks. She’d seen the situation developing. We were in busy Barcelona, and I was in a bustling shop, when three men, one with a partly-open umbrella, got a little too close. She shouted, and they moved away.

The incident came to mind when we were watching a stage show by Swedish ‘Pickpocket King’ Bob Arno, who makes his living as an entertainer. One piece of his advice that stuck in my mind (amongst many, I might add) was to carry a decoy wallet in an obvious pocket. It should contain, he said, an expired credit card and a few scraps of blank paper, so that if it were stolen nothing was lost because most of your valuables were stashed away safely in a more secure pocket.

A lot of Arno’s advice involves leaving valuables in a hotel safe, but it’s worth remembering that safes aren’t necessarily thief-proof. It’s not impossible to open one with a little technical effort and a small amount of equipment. Better to strip down what you take away to the barest minimum.

Before going on holiday, or on a business trip, we suggest running through this mental checklist.

SafeDo I really need all this jewellery? Probably not. Don’t expose it to risk by carrying it around the world.

Will my credit card be safe if I leave it in the room safe in my hotel? Not necessarily. The data on it could be read. Better to carry it with you in a secure pocket or a pouch, for preference inside your clothing, and as tight as possible. When my daughter spent spend a year backpacking, her papers were with her round the clock, inside her clothing. It took several weeks in the UK for the habit to wear off, so ingrained had it become – but she was never robbed.

What would I do if my valuables were stolen? Make a note of the numbers you’d need to alert banks and credit card companies as well as how to lock your mobile phone. Scan your passport and other ID documents, as well as flight tickets. List the numbers on your travellers’ cheques, if you’re using them. Email it all to yourself, then, if the worst comes to the worst, all that information is as close as the nearest place you can get on line. Also, keep your laptop back ups somewhere safe (It is all backed up regularly, isn’t it?). And finally, find out where the consulate is, and note its phone number. Depending on the circumstances, you may need their help.

And finally, a couple of thoughts about security in your hotel. Don’t keep the electronic room key in the little card wallet reception will invariable give it to you in. That’s more than likely to have the room number written on it. Lose them both, and an opportunist thief will know which room to ransack. If the electronic key has a
room number printed on it, complain and ask for one without, for the same reason.

How will you store your family history?

If the families of the tens of thousands of young men who died in the horrors of WW1 could have known how the nation would have felt this month, 100 years after the start of the conflict, I wonder if they would have thought any differently about how to care for the mementoes left behind?

WW1 Medals In the intervening century, how many letters, diaries and personal effects have been lost because someone didn’t know how important they would be to their descendants and others trying to bridge the gap in time to imagine what life was like on that day in August 1914 when WW1 began, and the years that followed?

It’s a question that is impossible to answer today, but it begs another: what should we do now to store facets of our own lives that might interest future generations? How can we tell the stories and family histories to our own grandchildren’s children a further 100 years down the line?

The default answer would probably include the phrase ‘on the computer’ – but that’s arguably less durable at the beginning of the 21st century than the solutions available in the early 20th. How many of us remember floppy discs? Even CDs are getting past their sell-by date, and Windows XP is obsolete. Who knows what safety storage solutions will be available in 2114, making what we think of as state-of-the-art today look Victorian by comparison.

No, by far the best way is to commit today’s stories to paper, including as much detail as possible, to let future generations know what was important to you and your family – and store them properly. These stories form a social canvas, adding colour and texture to the hard facts of history, and giving future generations a much better picture of life now.

With the physical items, these can form a family archive, stored together in a suitable container resistant to fire and flood. Our family’s is in what we call the ‘black tin box’. It’s an old deed box which has been in the family for years, and contains all sorts of items with little or no monetary value, but intense sentimental attachment and interest. There is the mortgage agreement for my grandparents’ first house, bought as a new build just weeks before WW2 for less than £700; parents’ school reports, family jewellery, certificates, photographs; the list goes on.

History matters. The trouble is, we often don’t realise how much it matters until we don’t have it any more, by which time it’s too late. Take action now.