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Understanding Safe Fire Ratings

Fire ratings are a big deal for a lot of people when purchasing a home safe. Everyone has heard of someone losing their home in a blaze. We are all terrified of it happening to us.

With that being said, if you don’t have a fireproof safe, then you should definitely look into getting one. Not every safe is fire proof, some are only fire resistant. We will be going over the difference between the two today.

Also be sure to take into account that the less you spend on a safe, the worse the fire resistance it has may be. However; cheaper safes are usually lighter, and if you are home the minute your house goes up in smoke, you can simply grab your safe – which has all of your belongings in it, and take it to safety.

Fire proof – What does this mean?

Fire proof essentially means the safe will be able to withstand heat and flames up to a certain temperature no matter what. Most house fires burn at around 1100 Fahrenheit, meaning you need to check the ratings on the safe to be sure that it will be able to withstand that heat for extended periods of time.

Unfortunately, the problem with safe manufacturers making claims that their product is fire proof is that there really is no way of measuring the heat of a house fire accurately. Or more specifically, how hot the flames were when it reached your safe. This means that instead of focusing on spending a lot of money on a fire proof safe, you should pay attention to the safes with claims of being able to withstand high heat for extended periods of time.

Understanding a safe’s fire resistance

Anytime you are about to purchase a top of the line, high quality home safe through the internet, make sure you first check out the safe’s fire resistance ratings.

Safe manufacturers determine the unit’s resistance to fire by stress testing it under extreme heat. Normally they are testing how long the safe can withstand a certain heat before the inside of the safe reaches a heat that can damage the contents inside. Normally that internal heat they are testing for is 350 Fahrenheit.

Class 125 Fire Rating

This rating is geared towards electronics – namely hard drives and data storage. It is tested to see how long the safe can hold off from having the inside of the safe reaching 125 Fahrenheit. This is the heat that when reached, will begin to damage any sort of hard drive on the market. This results in the data loss and it is impossible to restore the data once it has been lost.

This rating is tested at different external temperatures and is important to read heavily into. If a safe has a “Class 125-2 Hour rating @ 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit” then that means it will not hit internal temperatures of 125 Fahrenheit for 2 hours when faced with up to 2,000 degree Fahrenheit heat.

Class 150 Fire Rating

This rating is geared towards microfilm and any other storage based media. This can be your camera rolls, photos, etc. All important documents, that should they be damaged, are nearly impossible to recover.

A Class 150-3 Hour means the safe will stay below 150 Fahrenheit internal temperature for 3 hours when faced with heat up to 2,000 Fahrenheit.

Class 350 Fire Rating

This rating is meant for protecting paper documents. At 350 Fahrenheit, paper will become damaged. As it gets hotter, the damage is more severe and delivered quicker. So, the testing behind this is seeing how long a safe can stay lower than 350 Fahrenheit for extended periods of time.

Because most people will store paper documents in their safe, this is a really important rating to pay attention to.

To put it simply, should the safe have a Class 350-3 Hour Rating, that simply means the inside of the safe will stay below 350 Fahrenheit for 3 hours when faced with up to 2,000-degree heat.

Items in your safe determines fire rating

If you only plan on storing paper documents inside of your safe, then you’re going to want to pay attention to the Class 350 fire ratings on a safe. If you plan on storing film, then pay attention to the Class 125 ratings.

It all comes down to what you want to store in your safe. Make these decisions while shopping around for a safe and you have a lot easier time making a wise decision that pays off well in the long run.

Putting it simply, most of us will never have to deal with a house fire – fortunately. But, it is something that you should definitely plan for. Better safe than sorry.

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