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hand tools & fire evacuation

1415 Views 17 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  bbc557ci
I live in a high risk fire area, and I'm betting some others on here do too. Last summer we had one of the major fires only a few miles from the house. I scrambled to load up my hand tools and kept them packed in the car for several weeks until it was over. Might sound weird to want to save my tools, but I've got a bunch that have been in the family as many as 5 generations.

Now I'm trying to come up with some sort of tool storage solution where it's easy to get the tools in/out to use them in normal times, but I can also throw into the back of my sedan car and get away quickly if needed. Has anyone worked out their own solution to this?

A hanging wall cabinet is out, as well as dutch/anarchist tool chests (too tall for my trunk). Top pick is actually an under-bench cabinet with drawers that is un-attached and slides out easily. Turns out the ideal height for that is close to my trunk height clearance (16"). Possibly two side-by-side units so it's easy for a single person to load. I've got the plans for the Essential Tool Chest from Fine Woodworking / Pekovich; a pair of those seem like a good option too. Any other ideas?
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How about a style like an old Japanese tool box, you may need a few of them, but easy to take the lid off and should be easy enough you to carry and load.
Can build a fireproof box for them and keep it in the shop.
I keep all of mine in a Dutch style tool chest. Pretty heavy when full, but I can manage it.
I would take a hard look at the various pack out tool systems. A base with wheels and a handle and then various small boxes that stack and clamp to the base. You could also expand the system to store and pack household records and meds. Unstack and use in the house and shop, close and pack out if needed.
Just one sample of many:
Me, I would think you could possibly load up a fire vault almost as fast as a car trunk especially if you have a little advance warning. I don't know if they are deep enough for saws but fire rated 4 drawer file cabinets can be found fairly cheap when an office closes or is moving. They are very heavy so often go cheap or free if you can get it out for them. You can even store infrequently used tools in it to speed the emergency loading up. Just remember not to open more than one drawer at a time so the cabinet won't tip forward. A more expensive option would be a large gun safe, you could stack lots of boxes in there.
Locally places sell store shelters that are made of solid concrete. Might be worth investing in one of them. Set it just off to the side your workshop and roll everything in there then leave.
Gun safe will need to be a fire proof model. Many of them are steel boxes that cook the contents.
Gun safe will need to be a fire proof model. Many of them are steel boxes that cook the contents.

- TopamaxSurvivor
Right you are, if it isn't fire rated it is an oven in a fire.
Gun safe will need to be a fire proof model. Many of them are steel boxes that cook the contents.

- TopamaxSurvivor

Right you are, if it isn t fire rated it is an oven in a fire.

- controlfreak
One of the guys I know from target shooting lost everything in his safe in one of those big California fires ;(( he had something like 15 minutes to evacuate.
Boxes which can be used as a tool rack when mounted on a cleat:
additional info:
I am not 100% sure some fire rated safes, boxes or vault can withstand wildfires where its a complete burn with no fire department response. Be sure to check how its fire resistance is rated. Jewelry store safes are giving a TTL rating. It is the amount of time it takes to pernitrate with all the Tools and Torches available.
If you have a root cellar or can make one that would also be a decent option and multi purpose.
A root cellar was also something I thought about.
I would do it with a corridor to have some distance between the door and the cellar space itself.
It might be interesting yo have sand bags ready to pile in front of the door in case of fire.
It should be above ground not to be flooded by the firefighting.

anyway, one still needs easy-to-move boxes.
When you look at the reality in how much time you may have. Someone mentioned they only had a 15 minute warning.
Think you will have the time to load your car. Then a sustainer style boxes I think would be best. Plus they give you easy access to use the tools.
Someone already posted the Harbor Freight version. So Many to choose from. And I think you could grab it, or them and load them in a car pretty quick.

Under bench tool box would sure look nice, But how practical is it when you have to bug out right now.

Build the storage for the most important tools so that it fits the space in your car. Always plan to the reasonably expected limitations of your evacuation assets. Do you have to negotiate hallways, stairs, etc….? Factor that in. Consider the possibility of injuries during evacuation given your own physical limitations. You don't want to injure your back heaving around a densely packed tool chest when the inbound advancing fire line is 10 minutes away. During crisis, people often summon the strength to move/lift heavy loads, but seldomly do they use proper technique. Be careful loading things under stress.

A series of smaller tool chests allow you prioritize which tools get loaded first. Better to lose some than all. You might want to put people in the passenger seats as you flee and will need to jettison some of your tools. Depending on the layout of your home and car, you could store your tools on a rolling cart that is just higher than the edge of your trunk. Need to evac?…… then just attach the pre-mounted cargo retention strap to the cart, over the bundle of tool chests, tighten down the strap, then wheel out the entire cart, unfasten the strap, and push the tools in the trunk and away you go.

Remember the most important part of responding to a critical incident/disaster/fire/zombies/whatever is REHEARSAL. What ever you come up with, practice it a few time in real life before the problem is in your lap. Nothing more embarrassing than failing to properly execute a brilliant, can't fail plan
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Build a shop that is a fireproof bunker. Doesn't sound fun but it may work.
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