safe is one that is designed to keep the internal
temperature of the safe below a certain temperature when
the safe is exposed to fire conditions. Typically, a fireproof
safe will have one or more layers of fire resistant material
and one or more layers of insulating material. The insulating
material is designed to expand when heated, sealing the
safe from the harmful effects of water used to put out a
A fireproof safe will typically carry one or the other
of two ratings. These ratings, specified in hours, give
the amount of time that the safe can be exposed to fire
conditions before the temperature inside the safe rises
above a certain temperature. This temperature is typically
350 degrees F for documents, jewellery, and guns, and 125
degrees F for electronic and computer media such as floppy
disks, backup tapes, CDs and DVDs. So, for example, a 1
hour 350 degree rating would mean that the safe could be
exposed to a 1700 degree F fire for 1 hour, without the
temperature inside the safe rising above 350 degrees F.
For a media safe, the maximum temperature would be 125 degrees
F. In addition, a media safe will carry a rating for the
maximum amount of humidity inside the safe during the test,
usually 80% humidity.
Second to the fire rating of the fireproof safe, you will
need to decide the amount of security you wish the safe
to provide. If you are very concerned about security as
well as fire protection, then you need to make sure the
safe has a burglary rating as well. This rating basically
tells how long it would take a knowledgeable person to "break
into" the safe with locksmith tools at their disposal.
If large amounts of cash or valuables are to be left overnight
in the safe then you would want this rating to be as high
If you need to store and protect electronic computer media,
then you need a media-rated fireproof safe. As mentioned
earlier, a media safe carries a lower rating (125 degrees
F) for maximum internal temperature than a document safe
(350 degrees F). A media safe also carries a rating for
maximum humidity (80% humidity), and offers protection from
dust, electromagnetic fields, and electrostatic discharge.
If you need to protect guns with a fireproof safe, then
you will need a special gun safe that can accommodate the
special size requirements posed by rifles and shotguns.
If the safe is a to be used to store electronic media, then
you will need to choose the interior design of the safe
(drawers and/or shelves) to accommodate the type and overall
amount of media to be stored. For example, you can choose
interior drawers each designed to store a certain number
of floppy disks, DAT tapes or CDs/DVDs.
Another consideration when choosing a fireproof
the type of locking mechanism employed. You can choose a
traditional keylock or mechanical combination lock. Or you
might prefer the added convenience of an electronic keypad
locking mechanism. Or the ultimate in security and convenience
offered by a biometric safe - one which has a fingerprint
scanner as the locking mechanism - simply walk up to the
safe and press your finger on the scanner for about a second,
and the safe opens.