Massive wildfires blanketed much of North Carolina in 2016 and caused extensive damage to wildlife and property. More than 50,000 acres burned and the smoke was visible for miles on end. Shifting winds and dry conditions caused the wildfires to bounce and expand rapidly and drove thousands of North Carolina residents from their homes.
Although Charlotte, NC didn’t suffer from any direct damage from the fire, the smoke caused terrible air conditions and served as a daily reminder of how close fires can get to anyone’s home.
This kind of drastic fire season in 2016 can create concerns about keeping your property safe. Investing in a fireproof safe is an excellent choice to protect your valuables in an emergency situation. However, not all fireproof safes are created equal. Essential information must be taken into consideration when choosing the safe that is right for protecting your property.
The Size of the Safe
When considering the option to install a fireproof safe, think about what you plan to store in it. Typically, important personal and financial documents, family photos, jewelry, cash, and precious metals go into safes. Since many of these items are small, people end up buying a safe that may not meet their needs. People tend to only think of their current storage needs and forget to consider what they will need to store in the future. A good rule of thumb is to choose a bigger safe over a smaller one.
Keep in mind, electronics don’t hold up in fireproof safes. Sensitive disks, thumb drives, and computer equipment cannot tolerate the 350 degree heat that occurs in a fireproof safe. Make sure to have a secondary digital copy stored in a safety deposit box instead of storing these in your safe.
How Fireproof is the Safe
If you’re specifically looking for a fireproof safe, you should always prioritize its fire ratings. Note, though, safes aren’t actually designed to be 100 percent fireproof: rather, they are built to resist heat and smoke for a specific period of time.
When looking for a safe, keep an eye out for a UL or ETL certification. This will give you an idea of how long the safe will hold up to a fire. UL certified safes are directly labeled with a 2-hour or 1-hour fire resistant class. This means the safe will not exceed 350 degrees for that time frame. UL certification goes under an intense fire endurance test, an explosion hazard test, and an impact resistance test.
ETL certified safes, on the other hand, are labeled as a 2-hour, 90-minute, or 45-minute fire resistant class. The test put the safes in a 1200 degree test for the allotted time and will not exceed the 350 degree standard.
Burglar and Fireproof Composite Safes
Fire safes are not always the best choice to protect from your items from burglary, as this type of safe is made of a flimsy metal that can be cut easily with the proper tools. Worry not, though, for there is a class of safe known as the composite safe that protects your assets from both burglary and fire.
When choosing a burglar/fire composite safe, consider the value of the items you will be storing in it. Burglary-rated fire safes start at a B-Rate which protects up to ten thousand dollars and can go up to the UL TRTL-30X6 rating which is rated for one million plus dollars. These ratings are for reference only.
Floor Safes are not Fireproof
It is a common misconception that a floor safe will keep your valuables unharmed. Even though five of the six sides of the safe are protected by concrete in the floor, the exposed door will let in heat rapidly. Therefore, floor safes are not an ideal choice when considering fire protection.
Property owners can reduce a lot of risk from loss of fire by having a fireproof safe installed by a professional. Although no safe is completely fireproof, it can keep your extremely valuable items in safe harbor for a limited period of time.
Contact Eastway Lock & Key in Charlotte for help with any safes you own or plan to purchase. If you need to talk to a professional about any type of safe, our team will be happy to answer any questions or come to your place of residence or your business and assess your needs. Give us a call at 704-347-1088, or complete our Contact Form and we’ll get back to you right away. Don’t forget to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!