Are Fireproof Safe Actually Fireproof?
First, let us define the term “fireproof.” This term is used because many customers come looking for a fireproof safe. These safes are truly fire resistant, which means they can withstand heat and smoke (and in some cases, water) for an extended time.
There are many misconceptions in today’s society about fireproof safes, but you shouldn’t be an ‘informed consumer’ before purchasing one. Most people think fireproof safes are only resistant to temperatures at or under 400 degrees (F). This is completely false, as they are made/rated by different standards, which is what makes them unique and advantageous in the marketplace.
When you are looking for a fireproof safe, one of the things that you want to find is the fire protection rating. But what does that mean exactly? Well there’s several classifications for fire protection of safes.
Fire Protection Rating For Fireproof Safe:
Fire protection rating can also be referred to as fire-resistance rating. This rating usually refers to how long a passive fire protection system can withstand a standard fire resistance test. This can be quantified simply as a time measure, or it can include other criteria such as evidence of functionality or fitness for purpose.
The classifications are based on the temperatures in which the safe can withstand and how long it can maintain its internal temperature low enough without being able to burn the contents inside.
Euroclass Safes: resistance to fire
- Class A: up to 90 minutes at temperatures of 1010 °C
- Class B: up to 60 minutes at temperatures of 1010 °C
- Class C: up to 30 minutes at temperatures of 843 °C
Euroclass Safes: resistance to burglary
- Class I : Safes with a resistance of 5 minutes against attack with simple tools.
- Class II : Safes with a resistance of 10 minutes against attack with simple tools.
How Do Fireproof Safes Function?
Each safe will include information on how long it can keep items from being destroyed, what temperatures it can withstand, as well as what types of disasters it also can withstand. This is when research comes in handy.
The most important thing to look for is the “UL Rating.” (The “UL” stands for Underwriters Laboratories, a product safety and testing organization that has been in operation for more than a century.) This rating indicates how fire resistant a safe is. The UL rating is followed by a sub-rating, which tells you how long your documents will be safe. Use the UL rating to educate yourself on what types of documents will remain damage-free in your safe.
A UL Class 350 1-hour safe, for example, means that during a typical house fire, which burns at around 1700 degrees F, the safe will keep items inside the safe below 350 degrees for about an hour. If you live far from a fire station or keep this safe at a summer or vacation home where there are fewer people to quickly put out a fire, it is recommended that you purchase a safe with a higher rating. If you are unsure about your requirements, consult with a professional who specializes in fireproof safes. They’ll assist you in selecting the best one for you!
The UL rating system has three standards:
- Class 350: Safes that have been tested to withstand temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.
- Class 150: Safes that have been tested to withstand temperatures up to 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
- Class 125: Safes that have been tested to withstand temperatures up to 1,250 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes.
How To Measure Fire Resistance
The following are some of the most commonly used tests to measure fire resistance:
Fire Endurance Test:
The purpose of this test is to determine the amount of time a component can withstand fire. The component is exposed to high temperatures and is observed for a specified amount of time. After the test, there should be no loss of structural integrity or no significant damage to the component. The component must be able to perform its function in the event of a fire.
Temperature Rise Test:
This test is used to determine how much temperature rises inside a component when exposed to a fire. It can be conducted on either empty or full components that are at room temperature when tested. The temperature rise is measured as per UL 72 standard as well as ASTM E119 standard.
Fire Penetration Test:
This test is used to determine how long it takes for fire to penetrate through a component, i.e., how long it will take for flames and smoke to get through the cracks of doors and joints. This test gives an indication of which components are suitable for what type of use, i.e., whether it can be used in apartments or houses, etc.
Class “A”, Class “B” or “Class “C” Fireproof Safe Protection
The first question you should ask is what level of protection is needed for your valuables. Fire ratings are measured in either Class “A”, Class “B” or “Class “C” Protection.
Class “A” protection is the highest fire rating given by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). They are typically the most expensive and offer the highest level of theft protection. Safes with Class “A” provide one-hour minimum protection at temperatures up to 1700 degrees Fahrenheit. These safes are recommended for the storage of paper documents, magnetic media (tapes, CDs and DVDs), CDs, DVDs, and USB drives. This level of protection is required by most insurance companies for paper documents.
Class “B” safes with Class “B” ratings provide 30 minutes minimum protection at temperatures up to 1700 degrees Fahrenheit. They are recommended for the storage of paper documents, magnetic media (tapes, CDs and DVDs), CDs, DVDs, and USB drives.
Class “C” safes with Class “C” ratings provide 15 minutes minimum protection at temperatures up to 1400 degrees Fahrenheit. They are recommended for computer backup tapes and optical disks only.
The Class “A”, Class “B” or Class “C” labeling system is a standardized way to rate the resistance of a safe from both a fire and theft perspective. The certification process involves placing an empty safe into a furnace and heating it until it reaches temperatures that simulate a burning house fire. After the test, if a safe is able to withstand these extreme conditions without malfunctioning, it receives its class rating.
Which Fireproof Safes Provide The Most Protection?
We recommend that you purchase a Class “A” Fireproof Safe. These safes are by far the most fire resistant and offer the most security. This class of safe has been tested by independent testing laboratories, so you can be sure of the safe’s integrity in the event of a fire.
Class “A” safes have been tested to withstand extreme heat for 3 hours at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit. They are also water resistant, which is an added bonus if you live in a flood-prone area.
Class “B” safes are considered moderately fireproof. They have only been tested for 1 hour at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit.
Class “C” safes are not highly recommendable for companies, but they do offer some protection against theft or burglary.
All data security safes are fire resistant, but they may not be fireproof unless they have been tested by an outside lab and given a rating. Check the product specifications before you buy to ensure your protected items will remain safe if there is a fire.