Burglary Rated and Fire Rated Safes

Burglar Resistive vs Fire Resistive

Burglary safes are rated for the time they resist an attack through the safe door, unless it’s indicated that it has a six sided “X6” rating.

Fire safes are rated for how long it takes the inside of the safe to reach a certain temperature when “baked” as in a fire. They may also be tested when hot on their resistance to dropping 30’ to mimic falling through burning floorboards.

Fire safes are also broken down into document (paper) or media (computer data or photographic negatives) storage. If you are storing documents or media that have no negotiable value, then you might consider a protective file cabinet for easier storage.

Safes are built to meet certain fixed standards of either fire resistance and/or burglar resistance. Non-negotiable paper documents and records can safely be housed in a fire resistive safe. However, if the items are primarily valuables of the type that are burglary “target items,” then a burglar resistive safe should be your choice. Floppy disks, magnetic tapes, and photographic negatives will not be protected in a standard fire resistant safe. These items need additional protection from heat and moisture and should be placed in a “media” safe.

There is no “fireproof” or “burglar proof” safe. Given enough time and heat, anything will burn. Given time and the proper tools any lock can be defeated.

How Burglary Rated and Fire Rated Safes are Constructed

The basic construction design of a fire resistive safe is a hollow sheet metal casing which is filled with fire resistive insulation and then tested for performance in an oven for a time duration of 1, 2, or 4 hours at fixed maximum temperatures. For most circumstances, a 1-hour or 2-hour tested safe is sufficient for fire protection. However, the following rule of thumb should be remembered: “The better a structure is built, the hotter the contents will burn. Hence, a fire proof building has the hottest type of fire and needs more protection than a wood frame construction”.

Generally, burglary resistant safes … earn discounts from basic insurance premiums.

The basic construction of a burglary resistant safe is solid high tensile steel walls and door. There are many different degrees of burglar resistance. Generally, burglary resistant safes are built to meet various insurance classifications as set out by the Insurance Services Office and thereby earn discounts from basic insurance premiums.

Media safes are available through a number of manufacturers. However, inserts are available that may be put into UL listed fire resistant safes thereby providing a media protective area. The inserts tend to use a great deal of the available space within the safe, so plan accordingly.


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