Safes. Types And Features

In this post we will look at the safe and discuss the different types and options.

When you think of a safe, what comes to mind? A gun safe, a bank vault or maybe that one from the movie you seen last week hidden behind the wall picture?

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Safes come in many shapes and sizes as well as construction materials. No one safe will fit the needs of all safe owners. Some need high security and some will want fire resistant while others will want a combination of both.

Some safes are for a specific purpose like jewelry, guns or money. While other safes are made to fit a wider variety of purpose.

For our purposes today we will discuss types of safes that are more common for home or personal use.

Let’s start by classifying safes into two classes. Fire Safes and Security Safes.

1.   A Fire Safe has one main purpose and that is to protect its contents from fire. You may want to protect papers like your will, stocks, bonds or cash. In addition you may want to protect your identity or protect some irreplaceable family pictures from the unfortunate event of a house fire.

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A typical fire safe is rated at so many minutes of protection at a certain temperature level. Do your research when considering a certain safe to see what that safe's fire rating is. 

No safe is “fire proof” but some do a better job than others. Fire safes are rated on how many minutes they can protect contents from fire damage. A typical house safe may have a rating of 60 minutes at 1200 degrees. This means that the contents of the safe will remain at or below 350 degrees inside the safe for up to 60 minutes while involved in a 1200 degree fire.

Paper can start to be ruined at around 350 degrees. Most house fires are in excess of 1000 degrees and can easily get into the 12-1400 range. However, most house fires do not stay at their highest heat levels for very long. Therefore a fire safe will only need to protect for a limited number of minutes.

Fire safes range in many sizes from the consumer products that you can buy at the discount store to the big box safes like you find listed as gun safes or security safes at your specialty shops.

2. Security Safes are built for the purpose of, well, security. While most security safes naturally have some kind of fire rating, they are more concerned about how long they can withstand forced entry as opposed to how long they can withstand heat.

Home security safes can be as specific as Jewelry safes, watch safes or a cash safe. But many are of a more generic use. 

Some security safes come with multiple locking mechanisms or fail proof locks that will activate when a thief attempts to gain entry. Some security safes are even wired into the home’s security system and can notify your alarm company and the police if unauthorized entry is attempted.

A floor safe is a type of security safe and is usually built into the floor and hidden from view. A wall safe, being very similar but built into the wall, usually hidden behind a picture. These can be good for the homeowner who has a limited amount of space or who wants to hide valuables from site.

Another type of security safe is the vault. A vault is usually less discreet than a floor or wall safe but can usually protect much more due to its size. The best time to consider a vault is when you are building a new structure or adding on to your current one as they can be very heavy and rather large.

And for the most security conscious among us and if money is of no concern, then you may want to consider a safe room. Usually supplied with enough food and water to hide out for days and enough room to secure the family and its wealth. Again one should consider this type of safe before construction starts or at the time of a major remodel or room addition.

You should also give consideration to the type of entry method your safe will use. There are the standard dial combination locks that are considered a little more secure but much more time consuming to open. The key entry method that is secure but not so convenient if you misplace your key. There is also the push button combination or the bio-metric system or even some combination of both.

Whatever your needs, do your research. Search the internet and talk to professionals before you spend a lot of money. And don’t forget to consider the added cost of delivery and or installation if you choose one of the larger more weighty models.

Give me a call to discuss the insurance aspects of safes for your home. I am a far from being an expert on the subject but we may be able to point you in the right direction. 937-962-2123

In future posts we will discuss these similar topics.

  1. Various types of security systems.

  2. Protect your ID.

  3. Inventory your home.

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