safes are safes that use some type of electronic
locking mechanism. There are two major types of electronic
safes - electronic keypad and biometric. The first type,
the electronic keypad, is opened by entering the combination
to the safe on an electronic keypad similar to the PIN pads
used on ATM or debit card machines. This makes opening the
safe much more convenient than a traditional mechanical
combination dial. In addition, some models support multiple
combinations with multiple PIN numbers, allowing you to
grant access to more than one user.
Electronic safes also use what
is referred to as a biometric locking mechanism. A biometric
locking mechanism uses some unique physical attribute to
grant access to the safe. In the case of electronic safes
that physical attribute is a person's fingerprint. The user
simply places their index finger on a special scanner for
about a second, and if the fingerprint is a match the safe
is opened. This scanner uses a laser to scan the fingerprint,
much like the laser scanners used at grocery and retail
stores to scan bar codes. The scanner converts the fingerprint
information into a unique number using a special software
algorithm, and if this number is a match the safe is opened.
In addition, electronic safes that use a biometric scanner
allow for more than one user to be "enrolled".
This is done by simply placing the scanner in the program
mode and scanning the user's fingerprint.
There are a number of other factors to consider when choosing
electronic safes. One factor
is the burglary rating. The burglary rating usually gives
an indication of how long it would take a knowledgeable
person (in other words, a locksmith) to break into a safe
with common locksmith’s tools. While these ratings
may seem to be for a short amount of time (common numbers
are 5 or 10 minutes), most burglars do not have a lot of
time on their hands. If you have a good overall security
plan (such as an alarm system and surveillance system),
then you can insure that a burglar will not have enough
time to break into a burglary rated safe.
safes are also available with fire ratings to
protect the contents of the safe in the event of the building
catching fire. Fire ratings are specified in the number
of hours that the safe can remain in fire conditions without
the temperature inside the safe rising above a certain number.
A common fire rating is a 1 hour 350 degree rating. This
rating means that the safe could be exposed to a 1700 degree
F fire for 1 hour, and the internal temperature of the safe
would not reach more than 350 degrees F.
Another factor to consider when choosing electronic
safes is what is to be stored in the safe. Important
documents require a fire and burglary rated safe. Other
delicate valuables, such as computer backup media, require
a special media safe. A media safe differs from a regular
safe in the fire rating assigned to it. A media safe is
usually rated at 125 degrees F, rather than the 350 degree
F rating for a document safe. This is because computer media
is much more fragile and can be damaged at a lower temperature.
Electronic media safes are also rated for a maximum humidity
of 80% in fire conditions. In addition, they are designed
to protect the media from dust, magnetic fields, and electrostatic
There are also special electronic safes
designed for the storage of guns (rifles and shotguns).
Gun safes are larger than regular safes to accommodate the
length of the guns. Models are available with electronic
locking mechanisms as well as with burglary and fire ratings.
There are a two more features that should be considered
when choosing electronic safes.
One is an electronic locking mechanism with an audit feature.
The audit feature tracks user access and allows an authorized
person to view when the safe has been accessed and by whom.
This information is displayed on a local display panel or,
on some models, can be uploaded to a personal computer for
viewing. One final feature, limited to electronic safes
with electronic keypads, is a backlight so that the safe
can be quickly accessed in a darkened room. This feature
is especially important on gun safes, where the user might
need access to the safe at night.
As you can see, there are a number of factors to consider
when choosing electronic safes.
Taking all of these factors into consideration before making
your purchase will help insure that you choose the electronic
safe that is right for your. Because a safe is more than
just a metal box!