There has been some controversies over the years on whether fireproof safes are effective or not. It’s advisable to know whether the fireproof safes one is getting is actually fireproof or just a scam.
Since the main reason they are purchased is to safe guard important documents or appliances from getting damaged by fire. So if they are not actually fireproof, it depicts the idea in the first place.
This article was written to clear all controversies, doubts and to answer the question, “do fireproof safes really work?”
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What are Fireproof Safes?
When you hear the word “fireproof”, what comes to mind? Something that is strong enough to resist fire without getting destroyed. That’s basically what a fireproof safe is. Talking about its structure, a fireproof safe is created with a double wall.
In between those walls is a gap which is usually developed with materials resistant to fire. So when there is a fire, the temperature of the safe is cooled by this fire resistant materials.
Before we say a safe is fireproof, we have to consider a number of things such as:
- The Type of the steel
- Thickness of the steel
- Shape of the door
- Design of the door
- Body structure
Through hours of research and surfing, I found out that there are three main types of fireproof safes out there. Let’s quickly look into it:
A. Composite Safes
One of the best fireproof safes since the beginning of 19th century. Its component and compartments made it one of the best in the market. Although it’s composition depends on the brand.
Some may include Alum, gypsum or any other fire resistant material. The composite safe consists of a thin steel wall which accounts for its strength. The reason why this fireproof safe is one of the best is because it is theft and thermal resistant.
B. Fire-board Safes
The fire-board safe is a simple fireproof safe, light and portable. Unlike the former, its fireproof material is a fire-board as implied in its name. It’s a great fireproof safe capable of withstanding fire without getting destroyed.
C. Reinforced Fire-board Safe
This is the third fireproof safe, similar to the former. The only difference is that it was developed with extra layers of fire-board to give it more strength and resistance to both fire and theft.
Also, unlike the former, it’s heavier and less portable. Its thickness makes it less fire resistant than the remaining two types of fireproof safes.
These are the three main fireproof safes which vary in size and composition.
Are Fireproof Safes really effective?
Before purchasing a fireproof safe you have to consider what you’re going to be storing inside. Is it papers or digital media such as flash drives or hard disk? In the real sense, fireproof safes aren’t all fireproof.
Yes, they are capable of withstanding fire but it’s only a matter of time before they start to become less effective as a result of constant exposure to heat.
It’s very good to understand everything about a product before purchasing it. Do you know that there is only a slight difference between a normal safe and fireproof safe?
The difference is that fireproof safes are developed with insulating materials in specific components in the safe. It’s more or less like adding extra layers of fire resistant materials to a regular safe to make it a fireproof safe. Simple!
Water is different from Fire in so many ways. Although they are both dangerous and can cause destruction of life and property but you’ll agree with me that fire is worse. A fire doesn’t have to start before it is destructive.
According to my thorough research, fumes and heat can be as dangerous. That’s why I said the type of fireproof safe you’re getting should be dependent on the kinds of items you want to store in it.
Fumes alone have the ability to destroy or reduce the quality of the contents of your safe. They can affect your paper, clothings and appliances negatively if not careful. That’s why it’s advisable to place your fireproof safe in the home where fire may not affect it.
Also, digital media stored in a fireproof safe can be affected when exposed to fire. How? When there is a fire there’s always a development of electromagnetic waves. This electromagnetic waves is capable of destroying or corrupting the content of that media storage appliance.
That’s why it’s advisable to consider what you want to store before purchasing a safe. There are fireproof safes designed specifically to store paper documents (such as passports, marriage certificate, birth certificate…), digital media tools (such as USBs, flash drives…) as well as magnetic media (such as video and audio tapes).
However, answering the main question of the day which is “do fireproof safes really work?” It all depends on the composition of the fireproof safe. So before we can conclude that a fireproof safe is fireproof and can withstand or resist fire, it has to be:
Made with good quality materials
This is the first factor that makes a fireproof safe really fireproof. What I mean by quality material is the materials that are actually fire resistant, durable and capable of serving its duty for a fairly long time. That’s quality!
An All-round Safe with A Strong Lock System
A good fireproof safe has to be good all-round, talking about its structure, resistance to fire and also antitheft.
Designed with an extra Intumescent Seal
This is very important component of a good fireproof safe. It helps protect the safe from getting heated up by fire. It works in such a way that it protects the materials in the safe by swelling when there is a fire.
This is the last but not the least important factor. A good fireproof safe has to be “UL tested.” To ascertain whether a fireproof safe is UL tested or not, check the label on the safe. If it says only “UL tested”, it’s most likely a fake. Choose a safe that’s labeled in any of two ways below:
a. Fire resistance fireproof safes tested by UL
b. Fire and impact fireproof safes tested by UL
Fire and Impact Resistance
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Are Gun Safes Fireproof?
Briefly, a fireproof gun safe CAN protect your stuff from fire. Still, the feature “fireproof” in safe production is not 100% efficient, and the matter is more complicated than it may seem. Why?
There are many gun safes manufacturers on the market, leading to a massive number of gun safes sizes and styles. However, some of them are nothing more than a gun cabinet. These safes don’t offer protection against fire or burglary. When you first find a gun safe for your place, you should consider its metal thickness and locking mechanism as the most noteworthy features.
A gun cabinet is normally constructed from metal, which relatively resembles the 16 to 18 gauge steel. On the other hand, the gun safe’s body consists of around 10 to 12 gauge steel.
Different components serve different purposes to make a complete safe. Among them, the safe door is the most crucial part. When picking a gun safe, you should start with a gun safe having more than ¼’’ solid plate steel door.
If budget is not your concern, then choose the products having at least ½’’ steel door. What’s more, you also have to take the Underwriter Laboratory certificates into consideration, like the Tool Resistant UL.TL-15, or the Residential Security Container RSC.
These qualifications above are for the gun safe’s competence to deal with the relative threats. The effects from these threats on gun safe remain the same in almost every condition. Yet, it is a different story when a fire happens.
In the case of a home fire that results in the collapse of walls, there is a very rare chance that the things you keep in a fireproof gun safe can survive after this accident.
However, this is not the consequence of every fire. Some medium-quality fireproof gun safes still manage to protect their contents in small fires. Sometimes, thick steel non-fireproof gun safes can defeat the damage from fires. It’s all about the seriousness of the fire that matters.
We need to have an honest look that gun owners seem to overstress the fireproof feature to avoid fire from ruining their guns and ammo. Since there haven’t been any more promising fireproof products than a fireproof gun safe, they are still the most optimal choices for us.
Among the fireproof gun safes, we suggest you spend money on the ones which are rated with U.L (Underwriter Laboratories). Those who pass the 1-hour to 90-minute fire test can be adequate to preserve your guns, ammo, or precious stuff through almost all fire cases.
To improve the safety of your properties against fire, you can contain your stuff in a fireproof lockbox. Then, put the box in the safe. Now, you have a double fireproof gun safe.
Why do we suggest you find the U.L-rated gun safes? Due to the various fire types, no one can find out which safe is suitable to handle fire in separate situations.
A group of specialists carries out thorough fire tests to examine a gun safe’s fireproof features in every possible fire situation. The one that still remains intact in as many fire tests as possible will be awarded the certificates.
After numerous tests, the fireproof gun safes that can endure at least one hour of being burned are the ones that are qualified to contain guns, ammo, and valuable things. Fireproof gun safes get destroyed after a less than 60-min fire can also withstand fire, but only the business or home fire.
Will your firearms be secure in a fire-rated safe?
Let me begin by providing some background information. Underwriters Laboratories (U.L.) is a non-profit organization in the United States that certifies safes for both security and fire protection. I discuss how the gun safe industry transformed in the 1980s in my post on safe security. They abandoned traditional safe designs in favor of the new U.L. classification.
U.L. has a wide range of fireproof ratings for safes, similar to security ratings. These ratings indicate how long a safe will remain below a specified temperature for a particular period of time. Security and fire ratings are not the same things. Both of these ratings would be found in a secure fireproof safe.
Class 350 fire ratings are commonly utilized in the realm of gun safes. In the event of a fire, the internal temperature will not exceed 350 degrees for a specific period of time, according to the Class 350 classification. Above 350 degrees, wood and paper begin to decay and burn, thus class 350-1 is 1 hour, class 350-2 is 2 hours, and so on.
Fire-resistant gun safes are made to keep your firearms safe from the heat and flames of a fire. Fire-resistant safes are often manufactured with thicker steel and have a better level of fire protection. It’s crucial to remember, however, that no safe is completely fireproof. While a fire-rated safe will offer more protection than a non-fire-rated safe, it cannot ensure that your guns will remain safe in the case of a fire.
The good news is that your gun safe is safe
Don’t give up on your dreams just yet! A “certification” may not be trustworthy, but you can rely on the numbers. To ensure that your belongings are adequately protected in the event of a fire, make sure that your gun safe has many layers of fire-board, as well as a thicker steel gauge.
Your Safes Fire Testing Is Important.
Additionally, when studying fire-resistant safes, look into the testing methods used by the manufacturer. Companies that take fire testing seriously will put each of their safe models through a series of tests in a furnace to ensure that they provide the protection they promise.
It is recommended that a safe be preheated to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit (the average temperature of a home fire) in 10 minutes, and then maintained at that temperature for the duration of the fire test. When a safe is tested at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 or 40 minutes, some businesses label the test a success. That’s cheating, according to us. At Liberty Safe, our furnace temperatures are promptly raised and maintained at that level. if we guarantee a 60-minute fire rating, we mean 60 minutes at 1200 degrees.
In The Case Of A Gun Safe, You Get What You Pay For.
The price of your safe will go up if you upgrade your fire protection. It means additional fire-board, thicker steel, and a better seal around the door for improved smoke and fire prevention. It’s worth spending a little more for fire protection, though. Assuming the terrible happens, you won’t regret paying for the additional protection.
What makes gun safes fireproof?
Insulation is an indispensable element of any safe. Still, in a fireproof gun safe, gypsum is the insulation you need. The more layers of gypsum in your gun safe, the more proficient its protective feature becomes.
#2 Rigidity And Thickness
Metal is rigid, but being exposed to extreme heat for about an hour is a severe risk for every metal. A residential fire can generate more than 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, sleek steel will deform in minutes. For this reason, the steel’s rigidity and thickness are the top-notch concern for gun safe buyers.
Although gun safes often have their seals to prevent thefts and burglary, the ordinary seals can be defeated easily towards the fire. To cope with this problem, gun safe manufacturers come up with the intumescent seal.
This is a seal type that can expand its own size along with the rising temperature. Thanks to this special feature, the intumescent seal can save up an enormous amount of time for you to put down the fire and keep the inside stuff intact.
Will a gun survive a house fire?
Safes are designed to resist heat and smoke (and some also guard against water) for a predetermined time. A safe rated for at least one hour of fire protection is what we suggest you buy. For a normal residential fire, safes with a one-hour rating or less will not be sufficient.
How long is a gun safe fireproof?
As mentioned above, a gun safe which is referred to as fireproof should be able to resist fire in at least 1-hour. In contrast, the one that supplies less than 1-hour of fire resistance can’t protect your guns and ammo during a fire.
Are any safes completely fireproof?
No. Nothing is 100% fireproof.
Fireproof products can somehow slow down the damage of a fire case but not totally eliminate the fire’s destruction. When rising to a specific temperature, fire can ruin almost every material.
Are Sentinel gun safes fireproof?
Yes, safeguard your guns and valuables from both fire and burglary with the electronic lock fireproof Sentinel safe. There are four adjustable shelves and four molded barrel rests in the carpeted interior.
Where is the best place to put a fireproof safe?
There is no better location for a safe to be installed than at the intersection of two exterior walls. With this, you have the most security and support for a large safe. The safe should be kept on the ground floor of a house with many storeys.
We’ve said a lot about fireproof safes in this article. If we’re going to answer the question, “do fireproof safes really work?” the answer is Yes. However, you have to consider some certain essential factors to ensure that it’s really fireproof. I hope this article has helped cleared doubts and answered the question.
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