We Didn’t Start the Fire
A fire safe, or fire-retardant safe, is a safe built from and/or covered with material that doesn’t burn or melt, even when engulfed in flames. Fire safes are always a smart buy, particularly when storing documents or other flammable items. Nobody wants to think about a devastating house fire, but it’s wise to plan for events that will hopefully never happen. With protective measures in place, even a major fire becomes more manageable.
How Safe is Safe Enough?
Fire safes are sold with an “hour rating” that indicates how long each unit can withstand fire without damage to its contents. Most safes are 1, 2 or 3-hour safes, with the 3-hour models being the most expensive. It’s crucial to read all the specifications before making a purchase; look for information on the maximum temperature the interior may reach when subject to flames. Most manufacturers also include data on humidity, which is incredibly important for storing archival documents and photographs.
Computer Equipment and Electronics
Fire safes are often used to store floppy disks, memory sticks, computer parts and other electronic devices. Floppy disks can be destroyed if they come into contact with any heat source – even a hot mug of tea! Storing them inside a fire safe also keeps the disks safe from exposure to magnetic fields, heat, flames, dust and moisture. There is another advantage to storing such items inside a safe: this prevents access by unauthorized individuals and damage caused by electrostatic discharge.
Brace For Impact
Fire safes must be labeled with their hour rating and interior temperature rating (often called the UL rating). Many also carry an impact rating, which reveals how far the safe may fall without incurring serious damage. This is surprisingly important, particularly for safes stored above the building’s ground floor. Serious fires often cause structural failures such as flooring collapses; more rarely, entire buildings may be demolished by flames. If this is a concern, purchase the fire safe with the highest impact rating possible; this is important for all fire safes, but especially large safes that cannot be removed from the building in case of fire. If the safe will be kept in a highrise apartment or office building, check with others in that space and ask what types of safe they have chosen. If time permits, telephone the fire department and ask for their advice. Take care not to dial the emergency line!
Grace Under Fire
There is really no excuse for not using a fire safe. Recent technological innovations and production techniques have made these safes much more affordable than they used to be, and the expense of even the most expensive models pales in comparison to the hardship and heartbreak of losing valuable items in a fire. Think of your fire safe as an insurance policy against the unimaginable, and sleep well at night knowing that your most important, valuable, sentimental and irreplaceable possessions are tucked away in a safe, secure place where no fire can ruin them.
Article published by Safe Options