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All about fireproof safes

Unforeseen situations and emergencies occur all the time and they’re almost impossible to avoid or predict. A fire, flood or some other unpleasant accident may strike you at any time. To avoid disastrous consequences these situations might bring, you might have to act beforehand.

One of the first measures you can take to protect your valuable assets from damage is getting a fireproof safe. In case a fire strikes your building, at least some of the most important things will be protected against its influence. However, how to choose the best fireproof safe? What should you take into account? Sure Lock & Key has years of experience in the security industry and we’ll gladly answer these questions and share our knowledge with you.

How long will a fireproof safe last in a fire

There are a few crucial things to know about how long a home fireproof safe box can withstand fire. Manufacturers developed a safe fire rating to make these matters easier to understand. A safe must “pass” a test to get a certain rating.
So, testers place safes in an oven at a specific temperature for a certain time.
Most fire-resistant safes are rated for 30 minutes at 1,550°F, a standard based on current firefighting techniques and how fire typically travels through a home. That is the standard certification from UL and ETL. The next level is 60 minutes at 1,700 °F, which provides a higher degree of safety.
Part of the test evaluates how well the safes are suited for different types of contents. For paper preservation, the internal temperature must not exceed 350 °F. At the same time, for digital media, the failure threshold is 125 °F. Record cassettes and film slides are about 150 °F.
Even if the fire has been put out, there is a chance that the temperature inside is still stable or even rising. On the surface, the safe may appear to have withstood the fire, but items inside the safe can still malfunction due to the high temperature. We therefore suggest that you make sure you double-check the fire-rating label on the safe to match the type of contents you intend to store.

Do fireproof safes protect documents

As you can guess from the name, the main purpose of a fireproof safe is to protect the assets inside from getting damaged by heat in case a fire occurs. Technically it doesn’t guarantee you 100% protection, as nothing in this world is completely fireproof. However, depending on the fire rating it has, it can resist fire for a certain time. You can use it for money, jewelry, important documents, etc.
These safes have a few layers and the one that is in the middle is composed of the materials that can withstand heat.
Now, you probably want to know which type of fireproof safe to choose for your needs.
  • First of all, define the size and capacity of your potential safe and decide where you want to place it.
  • Check if it was tested by the UL laboratory and learn more about its fire rating (they might resist high temperatures from 30 up to 120 minutes).
  • To choose a safe with a proper fire rating, you’ll need to determine what you want to place there. For example, if you want to use it for documents, make sure it can withstand more than 350 F degrees.
  • Pay attention to the lock you choose for your fireproof safe. Consider getting one that can resist fire as well. Also, it would be better to use professional, safe locksmith services to assist you with the installation.
There’s another important factor you should take into account when buying a fireproof safe. Just because it can resist fire, it doesn’t mean it’s automatically burglary resistant. It’s completely another characteristic that requires additional tests.

Which fire safe is the best for a home

A fireproof safe is the kind of thing you buy in the hope that its capabilities will never be put to the test. However, if the time comes, the safe will be worth much more than you paid for it.
We had to consider several different factors when looking for the best home safe.
First of all, we considered the capacity of each safe, as this will allow you to determine how much contents you may safely store in it. Next, we looked at the overall dimensions of each model. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we looked at the different security systems used in each safe, as these systems stand between you and your valuables that could be lost or stolen.
money in a open safe
  • SentrySafe SFW123GDC Fireproof Waterproof Safe with Digital Keypad

    This safe can withstand temperatures as high as 1700 °F for 60 minutes and a fall from 15 feet. Moreover, it’s also waterproof, so even a flood won’t damage your assets. It is equipped with a combination batteries-operated lock, which may be considered a disadvantage if regular maintenance and checking whether the batteries are okay aren’t for you. As additional protection, the safe contains a small drawer inside, which can be opened with the main lock emergency key.

  • Gardall Safe Corporation Fire and Burglary Safe

    Just like the previous one, this safe can withstand up to an hour at 1700 °F. This type of safe comes in all different sizes.
    Moreover, you can also choose the type of lock you like the best. Besides being fireproof as well as waterproof, the Gardall Safe is tested for burglary resistance. Its biggest, and probably the only disadvantage, is its price.

  • Sports Afield Sanctuary Platinum Series 11.25 in. Tall Fire/Water Proof Safe

    This safe has outer and inner compartments; both have different fireproof ratings. Your belongings stored in the outer lockbox will endure up to an hour at 1800 °F, while placed in the inner compartment can endure up to 120 minutes at 1800 °F. Also, Sanctuary Platinum Series will keep your assets safe in water as well. The safe is equipped with a digital keypad lock, but you will get physical keys in case of an emergency. The great advantage of this safe is a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.

money in a open safe

The best places to put a fireproof safe

Let’s say you already chose and purchased a fireproof safe. Now, it’s time to decide where to install it, as this aspect is crucial to provide the highest level of security possible. Where is the best place to put your fireproof safe?
We want to present you with a few spots you might want to consider.
  • Consider placing your safe in a location that is not easily visible, such as inside a closet, behind a bookshelf, or in a hidden room.
  • You can mount it inside the concrete wall or under the floor to provide it with a higher level of protection.
  • Installing your safe in the basement can help protect it from fire damage, as fire tends to rise. Make sure the basement is dry and well-ventilated and that the safe is bolted to the floor.
opened fireproof safe
  • If you have a detached garage, this can be a good spot for a fireproof safe. However, be aware that garages are often targeted by thieves, so you'll need to take extra precautions to secure the safe.
  • Installing your safe on an upper floor can help protect it from flood damage, as well as from some types of fire damage.
opened fireproof safe

Are all steel safes fireproof

Even though the risk of burglary is five times greater than the risk of fire for the homeowner, fire is the second most significant threat to your valuables. The important thing you need to know is that there’s no completely fireproof safe. If a fire burns hot enough or long enough, the safe, after all, will be destroyed. Home fires most often start in kitchens, fireplaces, and garages. If you install the fireproof safe away from these areas, it will logically have a better chance of surviving.
Many safes do not have any concrete filling or drywall. They are simply steel. Steel conducts heat, so if the safe doesn't have fireproofing material, it will quickly heat up and destroy everything inside. So, in essence, no safe is naturally fireproof.

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Summing Up

Without any doubt, a safe is a great investment in your home security. Before purchasing one, it might be reasonable to pay attention to its fire ratings. You can never predict when an emergency will occur, so it’s always better to act beforehand. Besides checking the fire rating, it’s also crucial to pay attention to the locks you choose and the palace where you install your safe.
locked steel safe
locked steel safe

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