Fire / Burglary Safes
While, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a "fireproof safe" - that is, a safe that is completely impervious to fire damage, the term is frequently used by homeowners and businesses when describing a safe that will protect their valuables in the event of a fire. It is important to recognize that, no matter how well a safe is designed and constructed to protect your valuables against fire damage, at best a safe will only protect your valuables against fire for a few hours. For this reason, the term "fire resistant safe" is generally preferred, since it recognizes the fact that all safes constructed to protect against fire damage will merely resist fire damage for a specified period of time....[Read More]
Fire resistant safes vary widely in terms of their size and weight, level of fire resistance, intended mounting location, and degree to which they will resist a burglary attempt. Fire resistant safes may be secured by several types of locking mechanisms, both mechanical and electronic.
Depending on the particular model, a fire resistant safe may provide 30 minutes of fire protection (minimal), 60 minutes of fire protection (average), or up 120 minutes of fire protection (good). In testing, safes with the 60 minute and 120 minute time specifications are exposed to heat in a furnace at high temperatures designed to replicate or exceed the conditions in a typical house fire. To pass a test like this, after being heated in a furnace, the safe must have an interior temperature of less than 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The idea is that, since paper begins to char at approximately 405 degree Fahrenheit, a safe that meets or exceeds this type of testing will protect your documents inside the safe in the event they are exposed to a fire in the real world.
It is important to note that certain valuables, such as photographic negatives, analog film, and legacy computer backup media, such as floppy disks and magnetic tape, are particularly sensitive to the ravages of heat and will begin to degrade at temperatures significantly less than 350 degrees Fahrenheit - the litmus test for a fire resistant safe designed to protect documents. To protect these types of valuables, you should store them in a media safe also known as a data safe. This is a special type of fire resistant safe designed to maintain an interior temperature of less than 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, the manufacturing cost per cubic foot of storage space inside a media safe (Class 150) is much higher than that of a document safe (Class 350). For this reason, the price of media safes is generally much higher than that of equal-sized fire resistant safes designed to protect documents.
Many fire resistant safes are designed to be anchored to a fixed object to prevent them from being removed during a burglary attempt. Safes that are fire resistant for 60 minutes or 120 minutes with an anchoring feature can only be anchored through the base of the safe, mostly commonly through a recessed anchor hole located at the center of the base of the safe. These safes should never be anchored through their back wall. Doing so, would compromise or eliminate the fire resistant design of the safe.
Fire resistant safes are available in varying levels of burglary resistance: