about being a custodian of our children's memories

When my house was burgled earlier this week, the only irreplacable item they took was the miniDV tapes that held 12 months of moments from the lives of my 3-year old twins, Hunter and Taylor. Riding their first proper bicycles. The Christmas they got their first train set with the table their mother handcrafted for them. Their third birthday party with their friends from playgroup. Having fun with their elderly grandparents.

For a few years I've been saying to my wife that we needed to buy a digital camera and a scanner. One of the reasons for this was that I intended to scan existing photos and backup digital photos onto CD then archive those CDs, along with our home videos, to protect some of these things in case of fire. Of course, if I had implemented a process before now, we wouldn't have lost those miniDVs (because they wouldn't be sitting in the video camera case when it was stolen). Anyway... Australia is a land of many fires. Every year during summer we typically have run-away forest fires which destroy many lives and many more homes. People lose everything, and while of course your main concern is saving lives, losing your photos, home movies, etc must also be devastating.

This morning we did something we've been talking about for a long time. We went and did some research on household safes. I thought we'd be able to buy a fire-proof safe that was also theft-proof. It turns out, this isn't as easy as I imagined.

For a start, most safes under $1000 are "fire resistant", not fire proof. As I understand it, this means they will keep the flame away from the contents but won't necessarily keep them cool. I don't think this is going to be much good for miniDV tapes, film negatives, etc.

Has anyone else found a solution for this? Where do you store your negatives, video tapes, etc., to protect them against fire? What's your household disaster recovery plan?