Ways to Keep Your Property and Home Safe: Fire Rated Safes
At Guardian Safe and Lock, we have an assortment of ways to keep your property and home safe. Many people look at safes as simply a way to keep hands and eyes off of your valuables and sensitive paperwork. But, they can also protect against the forces of nature and accidents. Fire protection is another reason to consider owning a fire safe other than just protection from theft.
We sell secure safes in Houston that can ensure your peace of mind should the unthinkable happen. But what are the things to look out for when buying a fireproof or fire-resistant safe?
What is a Fire Rated Safe?
A fire safe is a safe that is made with specialty materials perlite, vermiculite, or the newer ‘insulite’ within the walls, floor, ceiling, or door of the safe. This material is used as insulation below the thick gauge steel that protects from other hazards to the contents; such as theft.
These fire safes must go through rigorous testing in order to qualify as a fire-rated safe. These factors are what make a safe fireproof, or fire-resistant. There are a few different companies that perform these tests, but the most common is Underwriters Laboratories. These tests are tough and end in results that equate to a measure of time by temperature.
They are carried out in an industrial oven, and usually, involve placing sheets of paper into prospective fire safes before the oven is ignited. A half-hour test usually equates to a test at 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit for that measure of time. Most fire-resistant safes are tested at this initial tier.
A one-hour fire rated test usually equals 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. This is where most safes are declared fireproof, instead of just resistant, if they pass. From that UL rating, the next tiers are two hours at 1850 degrees, three hours at 1920 degrees, and four hours at 2000 degrees.
Most house fires are over in about 20 minutes, and only burn up to 700 degrees. So, while UL testing may rate some fireproof safes into the UL3 and UL4 tiers of protection, this may be unnecessary for most owners unless they live in areas that are frequently prone to wildfires or firestorms, which can hit these temperatures.
Size and Security Features of Fire Rated Safes
When considering fire safes, and after ensuring that it is truly fireproof or fire-resistant, the next steps are the same as looking at any other safe. The first thing you’ll want to consider would be the size and volume of the safe, which can go from a small lockbox at about 1 cubic foot of volume, all the way up to some larger gun safes which average around 25 cubic feet on the larger end.
Remember, the thicker the walls of the safe and the more space on the inside usually correlates to the level of protection from fire damage it allows. The extended volume on larger models will also allow for all of your important documents, such as birth certificates and digital files on flash drives, to be stored while allowing room for larger pieces of your property to be stored as well.
With a larger safe, such as a gun safe, you can store cash, emergency supplies or checkbooks, photo albums, and even more. With more space in your safe, you’re able to better prepare yourself for both fire and theft.
The next thing to think about is security features. When looking for a safe that’s specifically for fire protection, it’s best to avoid outer electronic or biometric locks, in lieu of a traditional steel manual combination lock.
This is because while the inside of the safe is protected from fire damage, the outside doesn’t have protective layers installed, so plastic or electronic components can melt. Steel doesn’t begin to melt in a fire test until about 2,750 degrees Fahrenheit, rendering it safe under most house fire conditions and barely susceptible to damage from firestorms, which usually top at about 2700 degrees Fahrenheit. Some fireproof safes are even water-resistant and are sold as a waterproof safe with a fire rating.
Fire Safe Company Near Me
Here at Guardian Safe & Lock, we employ only the best and most knowledgeable Houston locksmith technicians in the security industry. We strive to answer any and all questions on our products and services. In the case of fire resistance and fire rating, this is a large topic, with branches extending far beyond what could be written and read with ease. Come into our showroom and speak with one of our employees, and we can get you set up with the best fire safes for you.
We carry fire safes from reputable manufacturers such as American Security, Hollon, Hayman, and Gardall. We offer a multitude of sizes, fire ratings, lock body types, finishes, and more in our selection. Our professionals can help you navigate all of the options available to you, and even deliver and bolt down your new safe!