Fireproof safes are safes that are designed to protect the contents from damage due to a home or business fire. The most important factor to consider when choosing fireproof safes is the fire rating assigned to the safe.
The fire rating is an indication of how well the safe will protect the contents during actual fire conditions. These ratings are usually given in minutes or hours. An example rating would be a 1 hour 350 degree F rating. This rating means that the safe has been exposed to a 1700 degree F fire for 1 hour, and the temperature inside the safe did not rise above 350 degrees F. This is a low enough temperature to protect documents and other durable valuables from permanent damage.
For more delicate valuables or items such as electronic backup media, fireproof safes are available with special media ratings. Media ratings are determined in the same way as fire ratings, except that the internal temperature cannot rise above 125 degrees F, a much lower temperature. In addition, a media safe rating specifies that the humidity during fire conditions will not rise above 80% relative humidity.
Fireproof safes can also carry a burglary rating. The burglary rating gives an indication of how difficult the safe is to break into. Usually specified in minutes, they give the amount of time that it would take an experienced person (such as a locksmith) to break into the safe using common locksmithing tools. A higher burglary rating means a more secure safe. It important to point out that some ratings like TL 15 can be so difficult to break into that you can leave tools and a set of instructions on the safe and the thief still will not be able to get into it.
There are a number of other factors besides ratings to consider when choosing fireproof safes. One factor is the type of locking mechanism used on the safe. Models are available with traditional mechanical combination dials, mechanical key locks, electronic keypad locks, and biometric locks. The electronic keypad lock is much more convenient than the mechanical combination dial or key lock. To open the safe, the user simply enters the combination to the safe on a PIN pad similar to the ones used on ATM machines. For even more convenience and security, consider a biometric lock. A biometric locking mechanism uses a fingerprint scanner to provide access to the safe. The user simply places their index finger on the scanner for about a second, and the safe opens.
Electronic locks allow multiple users to be enrolled, and some models also have an audit trail feature. This feature allows you to see when the safe was accessed and by whom. This data is either viewed on a local display panel or uploaded to a personal computer for viewing.
Fireproof safes are available in a wide variety of overall sizes, shapes and interior arrangements. Consider carefully what is to be stored in the safe before choosing one. For example, media safes have available drawers designed for the storage of popular computer backup media. Special fireproof safes are also available for gun storage.
As you can see, there are a number of factors to consider when choosing fireproof safes. Be sure to consider the features that are most important to you in order to choose the safe that is right for your needs. Feel free to call us if you need more help narrowing down what you are looking for in a fireproof safe.