Fire safes are designed to protect their contents from damage during a fire. There are several factors to consider when choosing fire safes, with the fireproof rating assigned to the safe being the most important.
The fireproof rating gives and indication of how well the fire safes will protect the contents from damage under actual fire conditions. The rating is usually expressed in minutes or hours. For example, a 1 hour 350 degree F rating means that the fire safes have been exposed to a 1700 degree F fire for a period of 1 hour, and that the temperature inside the safes did not rise above 350 degrees F. The 350 degree F number is a low enough temperature to protect documents and other fairly durable items from permanent damage.
If you need to protect more delicate valuables or electronic backup media, there are fire safes available that have a special media rating. A media rating is determined in the same manner as a regular fireproof rating, except that the temperature inside the fire safes must not rise above 125 degrees F. In addition, since electronic backup media is subject to damage due to water, a media rating indicates that the humidity inside the fire safes will not rise above 80% during fire conditions. The test includes using water to put out the fire.
Another factor to consider when choosing fire safes is the burglary rating. Not all fire safes are burglary rated. The burglary rating gives an indication of how long it would take to break into the safe. Usually specified in minutes, the burglary rating for fire safes gives the amount of time that it would take an experienced locksmith to break into the safe using common locksmith’s tools. The higher the burglary rating, the more secure the fire safe.
There are a number of other factors to consider when choosing fire safes. One factor is the locking mechanism that is used to lock the safe. Available types of locks include traditional mechanical combination dials, mechanical keylocks, electronic keypad locks, and biometric locks. The electronic keypad type of locking mechanism is much more convenient than the mechanical dial or keylock type. With an electronic keypad lock, the user simply enters the combination to the safe on a PIN pad, similar to the ones used on ATM and debit machines. This causes the lock to release on the safe. Consider fire safes with a biometric lock for even more security and convenience. A biometric lock uses a fingerprint scanner to grant access to the safe. The user simply places their index finger on the scanner, and the safe opens if the fingerprint is a match.
Fire safes that use electronic locks usually allow several different users to be given access to the safe. This feature usually comes with the ability to view an audit trail, showing who accessed the safe and at what times. This data is usually viewed on a built-in display panel or uploaded to a personal computer for viewing.
As you can see, there are a number of factors to consider when choosing fire safes. To ensure that you make the right choice, choose and experienced safe and vault company to do business with. They can help you select the right safe for you from among a wide variety of fire safes.