If you want to use your home safe to store important documents, such as passports, insurance policies, tax returns and financial papers, it may be worth investing in a fire safe. While a regular security safe helps protect your documents from theft, it may not protect them from a fire in your home.
A fire safe adds an additional level of protection that could save your documents from damage or destruction. These safes have different levels of fire resistance, measured by tested ratings, and it's important to choose one that has the right protection for your needs. To help choose the right safe, check out its temperature and resistance time ratings.
Fire Safe Temperature Ratings
Fire safe testing exposes safes to fire to establish how resistant they are to heat. This measures how a fire affects the internal temperature of a safe. Look for the Underwriters Laboratories, or UL, verification mark for the safe. UL ratings show that the safe has passed specific independent heat tests. Typically, a fire safe suitable for paper document storage will have an interior that can keep internal temperatures below 350°F in a fire. For example, if a fire safe has a UL Class 350 rating, its internal temperature did not exceed 350°F in tests, which should make it suitable for safe document storage. You can also check the safe's documentation or user manual to ensure that it is designed for document storage.
Tip: Computer media, such as DVDs and USB drives, damage at lower heats than paper. If you plan on storing these kinds of materials with your documents in a fire safe, look for a specialist product that is verified to protect multimedia and data products.
Fire Safe Protection Times
Industry standards also measure fire safe resistance in time, and this is another factor you should consider before buying a safe. For example, a safe's documentation may state that it can protect documents for half an hour, an hour or two hours. A rating of UL Class 350 – 1 hour tells you that the safe's internal temperature will stay under 350°F for at least an hour.
Choose a level of protection time that you think will cover you. According to data from ConsumerReports.org, an average fire typically spends around 20 minutes in a room, so a fire safe with a half hour limit may just give you enough protection. If you're worried that this is too tight a timescale, or want to plan for a worst case scenario, buy a fire safe with a longer resistance time. Talk to a company like Axcess Locksmiths for recommendations.Share
8 September 2015
As the manager of a five-star hotel, I face many interesting challenges. There's never a dull moment! One of my biggest problems is security. I spend a lot of time obtaining quality keys, locks and safes and ensuring they are well-maintained. There's nothing worse than a tired guest and a broken lock at 3 am! Over the years, I have trialled many different types of locks and safes. I also keep up with the latest technology in this area. I am therefore quite the expert when it comes to advising family and friends about the best systems for their homes and businesses. Given that so many people ask me for advice, I figured that there may be others who are overwhelmed by the plethora of options out there. This blog may give you some ideas and help you make good decisions in your search for superior locks and safes.