In order to decide on the most appropriate fireproof storage unit for your needs, you must first consider the physical properties of the actual items you wish to protect.
Each type of media starts to degrade at a different temperature, as follows:
Paper: 177 °C / 350 °F ( passports, certificates, insurance policies, deeds, legal documents and cash (notes))
Digital: 120 °C / 248 °F ( SB / memory sticks, DVDs, CDs, digital cameras, iPods, MP3 players and external hard drives)
Film: 66 °C / 150 °F (Cellulose based materials such as film, negatives, transparencies and microfiche are almost as vulnerable to the hazards of a conflagration as data media and should therefore also be stored in a fireproof data safe.)
Data: 52 °C / 125 °F ( computer back-up tapes, computer diskettes (floppy disks), traditional internal hard drives, video tapes and audio tapes)
UL Fire Rating Explanation - here are three main UL rating categories for fire safes:
UL Class 350: keeps safe contents at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit or less and at a humidity of 85% or less for the specified time period. Suitable for storage of paper documents.
UL Class 150: keeps safe contents at a temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit or less and at a humidity of 85% or less for the specified time period. Suitable for storage of magnetic tape, optical media such as CDs and DVDs, and paper documents.
UL Class 125: keeps safe contents at a temperature of 125 degrees Fahrenheit or less and at a humidity of 80% or less for the specified time period. Provides highest level of protection. Suitable for storage of most all electronic media and paper documents. Class 125 rated safes also have water-resistant seals on the safe door to prevent the entry of water.
Class 350, Class 150, and Class 125 ratings are further defined by a minimum time period during which the safe provides the specified level of protection. Time period ratings of one-half hour, one-hour, two-hour, three-hour, and four-hour are available. For example, a Class 350 One-Hour Safe would keep its contents at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit or less for a minimum of one-hour.
Safesandmore.com offers you high range of fire protection safes, from 30 minutes ones up to 170 minutes fireproof safes.
Safe fire ratings (see Fire Rated Safes Explained) are conducted at much higher temperature than the safe will actually be exposed to in a typical house fire.
Recommendations for Choosing a Fireproof Safe:
- The target response time of a firefighter in a urban area is 10 minutes. During this time the house is heating up but it takes a bit before hitting its max burn temperature. Once on site, the firefighters will be spraying water onto the home and begin to cool it. So, your safe will only be exposed to the 1100 degrees for a short while. - 30 Min Rating is all you need.
- If you live in an rural area it’s going to take the fire fighters for sure more than 10 min get there - 45 Min Rating safe or 60 Min Rating safe would be a good choice for you.
- If you have a large home or live in a multi-unit complex, it will take longer to control the fire and cool it down after the fire fighters arrive. If your home is over 1500 sqf, you should buy at least 60 Min Rated safe. If it’s a mansion, go even higher.
-Commercial building are larger and fires are harder to get under control. For fire safes going into commercial buildings, get at least 90 Min Rated safe.