Whether you are a business tycoon or a reasonably rich person with a kitty of valuable possessions, you sure do not want them destroyed by a fire or stolen by someone who probably does not value them as much as you do. On the other hand, what you want to protect may not be your hobby but official documents, jewelry and the like.
In both of the above cases, some means or another probably already protects your valuables. However if you have decided on buying a safe to protect your valuables from fire because you think your prized possessions have increased in number and value then read on to get an idea of the options available to you.
You also have to keep in mind that no amount of protection can last indefinitely. What this means is in the event of a fire in your home or office there is a certain period during which a safe can keep your valuables from being destroyed in the fire!
Heat Intensity in a Fire
Now when you go searching for a safe one thing to keep in mind are the fire ratings of the safe. Do not be fooled by claims of safes that are expensive because they provide protection at very high temperatures.
Average house-fire temperatures are in the range of 1200°C, so if the sales person claims to give better protection at higher temperatures he is probably telling you the specification of the heat resistant lining of the safe or the temperature range of fire endurance tests that safes are put through!
Protection ratings are nothing but the temperature and time for which the safe will provide safety in the event of a disaster. The general ratings are 1200 degrees for 20 minutes to 1700 degrees for 1 hour. More expensive cement fire safes can provide up to a 2-hour rating however, they weigh twice as much as the normal home or office safe.
Basic safe types according to their location
These are embedded into a wall preferably into a thick wall to avoid the safe from protruding out at the other end of the wall, which obviously will make it visible! And if it is imperative that you install your safe into a thinner wall then you can install it so that there is a cabinet on the other end hence concealing the safe.
These as the name suggests are installed into the floor of your home or office.
Now unless these are installed in your den or basement they are in danger of falling through the floor once the floor material has collapsed due to fire.
Therefore, the ideal place to install your safe would be at the lowest point in your home and the most exterior, not only because it is less likely to fall through but also because the intensity of heat during a house fire is less concentrated in this area.
Size of the safe
The size of the safe you want to buy will depend on the number of valuables that you want to store and their collective size. You also have to consider future possessions and collectibles because a safe is not something you will buy repeatedly as your collection increases. It is also not economical to buy one all the time meaning safes are quite an expensive commodity owing to the fact that they are made to protect your valuables that are important to you!
Another point to consider while deciding the size is its location in your home! I mean if you do not have enough space to accommodate a big safe it does not make sense buying a one that big right! Moreover, if you have decided on installing it in the bedroom or family room it cannot be too large lest it spoil the interiors! For a big safe the garage or basement is good place.
Thickness of the safe
By the term thickness of the safe, it means the thickness of the safe walls. The sizes available are from 14 gauge thick steel to ¼-inch steel thickness. Now the thickness again depends on you. In the event of a fire, it is not the thickness of the steel but the quality of the fire protection lining that is important because that is what will protect your documents and other valuables from being charred!
Certifications in the UK
Certification of a product by national and international standards gives the customer the satisfaction that what they are buying ensures high quality and reliability.
Some European standards that safe manufacturers adhere to are as follows
Serial numbering by the ECB•S – for the identification of manufacturers and the prevention of unauthorized use as well as they are in accordance with ISO 9000 (EN ISO 9000).
EN-1047-1 and VDMA 24991Means that the safe is tested against fire according to the European standard EN-1047-1. Thereby today’s and future demands for fire protection is achieved. It is the most complete test with production control, certification, drop test, remaining heat etc.
Fire protection P = for paper documents Means that the safe is tested to protect all paper based documents against fire. The end temperature must not exceed 175ºC. The fire class is stated in 60P, 90P alt. 120P which means that the contents in the safe remains intact in 60, 90 alt. 120 minutes.
Fire class DIS = for all types of data media
Means that the safe is tested to protect the most heat sensitive data media in a fire. The end temperature must not exceed 55ºC. The fire class is stated as S60DIS alt. S120DIS and means that the contents in the safe remains intact in 60 alt. 120 minutes.
Another important factor to consider is the warranty on your safe in case it is damaged in the event of a fire or break-in. You will not wish to spend more money on buying a brand new safe after incurring so much loss!
Most safe manufacturers provide warranties in the event of a disaster; however, this excludes the freight costs. However if your safe is insured you can claim the freight charges from your insurance company, for which you will have to get in touch with your insurance firm.
Therefore, when you go safe shopping if you have at least some idea of what you are looking for you can expect to get a good deal on protecting your valuables!