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Are Fireproof Safes Worthwhile? Do You Need to Get One?

One of the worst home disasters that can strike without warning is fire. Even with safety mechanisms such as smoke detectors in place, sometimes accidents happen. Fire often causes devastating loss in terms of human life and even valuable property.

As such, many people consider investing in fire proof safes to protect their valuables in the event of a fire. This is one of the best investments to make for your home, as it will ensure all your personal documents and any other valuables are kept safe, and you can easily access them in case of an emergency.

There are several brands of fireproof safes available, and you should check to see which one works best for you before making a purchase. Conduct a little research and ask all the questions you have so you can find a safe that suits your needs perfectly.

How Do Fireproof Safes Work?

Fireproof safes are designed to keep the interior as cool as possible in the event of a fire. Their construction usually comprises a double-walled steel body with a special fire-resistant composite inside. This composite will vary from brand to brand, but it typically contains a hydrate such as gypsum or alum, which releases water vapor when heated. Fireproof safes have specifically-engineered features that reinforce the fire resistance of the safe.

What type of fireproof safe should you buy?

There is a wide variety of fireproof safes to choose from, so choosing the right one can be a little challenging. You ought to know that different items will have different requirements since each type of media has its own limit when it comes to humidity levels. Basically, your needs will determine the perfect fireproof safe to choose.

There are three main categories of media:

Paper- this includes all your passports, certificates, legal documents, cash(notes), insurance policies, among others.

Digital media- any digital device you use to store data, such as hard drives, DVDs, CDs, digital cameras, USB, etc.

Data/Magnetic media- this includes tapes, floppy disks, cellulose-based materials like films and negatives, etc.

When there’s a fire, the safe is under attack externally from flames, smoke, dust, and hot gases. The temperature level will mostly depend on the nature of the fire and the combusting materials. It is important to note that rising humidity levels in the safe could also be hazardous to vulnerable data, so you should invest in a fireproof data safe that is specifically designed to protect your data both from fire and humidity, which could be equally destructive.

As seen above, the content of the safe will determine the best type of safe to purchase. In order to ensure you choose the most suitable safe, it is best to contact a professional who will walk you through all the different types of safes available, including their features and advantages.

What locking mechanism should you choose?

You can choose from three main locking mechanisms: key lock, combination lock, and digital pin padlock. Each of them has its own advantages and drawbacks.

Key locks- these are still pretty common today. The key is to look for a decent quality lock with a sturdy key. You should also make a couple of spare keys when you buy the safe in case the original gets misplaced or stolen. Unfortunately, they are not the most secure, especially if you get a cheap one.

Combination locks- these are also quite popular. A combination lock uses a combination code that has to be dialed manually from side to side. A big plus with these locks is that they don’t need batteries to operate.

Digital pin padlocks- these are pretty standard, and more and more people are opting for them nowadays. The problem with them is that you’ll need batteries to operate them. It can be quite frustrating to come to your safe and have to fish around for a spare key because the batteries have run out.

Where should you keep your fireproof safe?

Ideally, you need to keep it in a discrete but easily accessible location. While fireproof safes protect against fire, some of them might be ineffective against thieves. The best place to store it so it’s most protected from a fire would be in the basement. However, this is totally up to you. If you’re going for convenience, you might want to store it somewhere else. Since it’s fireproof, it should be okay anywhere in the house in the event of a fire.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to purchase a fireproof safe, the UL rating is one of the most important things you have to look for. Underwriters Laboratories has grown to become an industry standard. This way, you know exactly how fire-resistant a safe really is. This rating usually includes a sub-rating, which gives you the time you should expect your documents to remain undamaged.

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