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Will A Fireproof Safe Survive a House Fire?
Is your safe really secure in case of a fire breakout? If you're keeping your important documents, precious jewels, cash, or other valuables in your safe, one question that may constantly arise in your mind is whether the safe will protect your belongings in the event of a fire. You may feel that a fireproof safe is the ultimate solution to protect your belongings from a raging inferno, but how do you identify the right type of fireproof safe to invest in? This article explores the world of fireproof safes, the different types available in the market, and whether they can truly survive a house fire.
What Is A Fireproof Safe?
A fireproof safe is designed to protect the contents inside from fire damage. The safe is usually constructed using two layers of steel - an interior layer that protects the contents, and an exterior layer that acts as insulation. Fireproof safes are classified based on their ability to withstand a fire's heat, measured in hours. A basic model can withstand a fire for 30 minutes, while others can offer protection for up to 2 hours or more.
Types of Fireproof Safes
Before you purchase a fireproof safe, it's important to understand the different types available to help you make an informed choice.
1. Paper Document Safes
These are designed to protect handwritten papers, money, and even digital storage media like hard drives and CDs. They are ideal for storing your will, insurance documents, passports, and birth certificates since they have an enhanced protection feature for papers that curls up under high temperatures. They can effectively withstand high temperatures for up to 2 hours, providing ample time for emergency services to be alerted before the safe malfunctions.
2. Data/Media Safes
These types of fireproof safes are designed to withstand high temperatures and humidity levels to protect digital media storage such as hard drives, flash drives, CDs, and DVDs. The safe uses moisture control to keep the humidity levels at bay and, most importantly, controls the temperature to deter the media from melting.
3. Gun Safes
Gun safes are designed to protect firearms from theft and fire. They come in different sizes and designs and feature different locking mechanisms. The outside is made up of heavy gauged steel while the interior is coated with extra fire-resistant linings. These safes are usually fireproof for about 60-90 minutes.
4. Jewelry Safes
Jewelry safes are usually smaller than gun safes, but they are designed to house valuable heirlooms, precious gems, and expensive jewelry. These safes have reinforced doors, locking bolts, and a fire-resistant lining that can survive temperatures of up to 1,250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 90-120 minutes.
5. Floor Safes
Floor safes offer a great level of protection for valuables as they are tucked away underground, making them difficult to access. They come in different sizes and shapes - some can be square, cylindrical, or rectangular. Most floor safes are designed to be waterproof and fireproof. A quality floor safe can survive for about 2 hours or more.
So, Will a Fireproof Safe Survive a House Fire?
The answer is not straightforward. Although fireproof safes are designed to withstand high temperatures, the question of whether they can survive a house fire depends on the type of safe, the level of heat intensity, and the duration of the fire.
The UL (Underwriters Laboratories) is an independent testing laboratory that sets standards for the performance of fireproof safes and other safety equipment. They subject fireproof safes to rigorous testing to assess the amount of heat the safes can withstand. UL-72 is the standard that measures the safe's ability to withstand extreme heat and fire for a short period. UL-125 is a fireproof standard that measures the amount of time a fireproof safe can withstand high temperatures before the contents inside are destroyed. A good fireproof safe should have both UL-72 and UL-125 ratings.
Fireproof safes are rated based on the amount of time they can withstand the fire's temperature. A basic fireproof safe can withstand heat and fire for up to 30 minutes. A better safe usually has a 1-hour rating, while the best fireproof safes can provide protection for 2 hours or more.
The intensity of the fire may also affect the performance of the fireproof safe. If the temperature exceeds what the fireproof safe can handle, the contents inside may still get damaged. For instance, if the safe is exposed to temperatures of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is only designed to withstand up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the contents inside may still get damaged.
In conclusion, investing in the right type of fireproof safe can bring you peace of mind that your belongings will be protected in case of a fire outbreak. It's important to select a safe that meets your needs, depending on what you need to protect. Be sure to opt for a safe that has both UL-72 and UL-125 ratings, as they have undergone rigors testing to ensure they provide maximum protection. However, it's important to remember that although fireproof safes offer protection, they can still be vulnerable to extreme temperatures, so it's important to store them in an area that is safe, secure, and well-ventilated.