Frequently Asked Questions - Fire Ratings, Fire proof, Fire Safe


We strive to stay on the cutting edge of technological changes as well as changes in federal regulation compliance (HIPAA, SOX, etc) to better serve you, our clients and website visitors. If you can't seem to find the answer to questions about fireproof safes, fireproof media cabinets or fireproof filing cabinets feel free to call our experts at 1-866-867-0306 or email us today.


10 Tips to Buying a Fireproof Safe

What is the best fireproof safe available?

What is a GSA Approved Container or safe?

How long will it take to get my safe or file cabinet?

Is there a difference between "Fireproof" and "Fire resistance"?

What can I do to prevent WATER DAMAGE during and after a fire?

Which is more secure? A safe with a key lock or combination lock?

What is a Media Safe?

What is Impact Testing?

What is a UL 350 vs. UL 125 Rating?

What is a Burglary Rating?

What are the UL Temperature Ratings?

Do I need a 2-hour UL Fire Rating? (not necessarily...)



How do I open my safe if I lost the combination?

What makes a safe fireproof? What are some of the ingredients?

Lease or Finance fireproof file cabinets, safes, IT solutions and more!

Finance or Lease Your Fireproof Security Equipment Today!


1. What does it mean when it says "media" safe?


When the term media is used in describing a fireproof safe or cabinet it is referring to the material that is stored inside. Media is anything from computer disks to microfilm. Anything in this category needs to carry the UL 125 fireproof rating to be protected.

Examples of media included in this category are DDS-4 Tapes, DLT, LTO, LTO-2, AIT, AIT-3, SDLT, Ultrium 1,2,3 tapes, cartridges, CD's, microfiche, microfilm, photos , Open reel tapes, ZIP disks, JAZZ drives and discs, VXA, TK50, CD-R's, 8mm, 4mm, and Mammoth - YOU WILL REQUIRE the UL 125 fire safe rating to s tore the above items. This will ensure the inside temperature of the cabinet or safe will not exceed 125 degress F - keeping your data and media safe. For more information on data storage or media protection , click here .


2. Are all products that are "tested to UL standards" really fireproof?


Testing to UL standards is conducted by many Independent fire testing organizations across the United States. For example, the Western Fire Center Western Fire Center, Inc. (WFCi) is accredited under the International Accreditation Service (IAS) Acceptance Criteria for Laboratory Accreditation (TL #180) . This accreditation encompasses the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025 and relevant requirements of the ISO 9000 series of standards.

Currently UL has not developed a standard for electronic equipment such as Hard Drives and data backup storage devices. Manufacturers such as ioSafe and DataFORTRESS are working with UL to develop new testing standards for hard drive data backup technology.


3. What should I look for to determine if the fireproof product I am purchasing actually passed the UL tests?

In order to determine whether a fireproof safe or fireproof filing cabinet is "UL tested" or actually classified by UL as passing the UL 72 fireproof tests you need to check the label. If the product just says "UL tested" it most likely did not pass the test. If the product did pass you will see one of the following labels:

#1 Label Style       Record Protection Equipment
Classified By
Underwriters Laboratories, Inc
As To Fire Resistance
Rating: Class_______-____Hr

#2 Label Style       Record Protection Equipment
Classified By
Underwriters Laboratories, Inc
As To Fire and Impact Resistance
Rating: Class_______-____Hr

#3 Label Style       Record Protection Equipment
Classified By
Underwriters Laboratories, Inc
As To Fire Resistance
Rating: Classes_______and______-____Hr
See Marking Inside Unit For Class Ratings
Applicable To Individual Compartments

#4 Label Style       Record Protection Equipment
Classified By
Underwriters Laboratories, Inc
As To Fire and Impact Resistance
Rating: Classes_______and______-____Hr
See Marking Inside Unit For Class Ratings
Applicable To Individual Compartments

4. Are all fireproof files impact tested?

No, not all fireproof filing cabinets or fireproof safes are impact tested. In order to be listed as a fireproof file cabinet the protection unit the equipment must pass the UL fire and impact test as part of the UL 72 testing standards. To simulate the fall that a fireproof cabinet or fireproof safe may incur during the collapse of a floor in a structural fire, the product is heated to between 1460°F and 1700°F removed from the furnace and hoisted 30 feet off the ground. UL then drops the product within two minutes into a pile of broken brick on a concrete base. This is equivalent to a fall form a third story.

5. To what temperature are fireproof safes, fireproof filing cabinets and fireproof media cabinets tested by UL?

There are different time periods for fireproof testing depending on the UL rating that the product is attempting to reach. The most common ratings are for ½ hour, 1 hour, 2 hour, 3 hour, and 4 hour. As the time goes up so does the temperature to which the product is heated. For ½ hour the product is heated to 1550°F, for 1 hour 1700°F, 2 hours 1850°F, 3 hours 1920°F, and 2000°F for products rated 4 hours. Once the product reaches the set time and temperature the furnace is turned off. The test product must then cool in the unopened furnace until there is a significant decrease in the internal temperature of the product. This cooling period can take as long as 68 hours and is the point at which most products fail the test due to the fact that the interior of the product continues to rise in the unopened furnace.


6. Why are there 350°F and 125°F class for fireproof filing cabinets and other fireproof products?

The 350°F and 125° refer to the temperature that the interior of the product is allowed to reach during a fire. Not all products break down at the same temperature during a fire. Paper products will burn when the interior of the safe or filing cabinet reaches 400°F. Media on the other hand is much more susceptible to heat. Most forms of media are useless after they surpass the 125°F point. So make sure that you check the UL label on the product to make sure that it is properly rated for the types of contents that you are going to store.

7. Do I have to buy fireproof products to become HIPAA Compliant?

The HIPAA, or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, sets standards for the storage and security of PHI (protected health information) by health care organizations and their entities. The mandate sets strict guidelines on how Personal Health Information is to be stored and shared. The mandate does not give specific rules on how to become compliant it simply tells healthcare organizations that they need to take appropriate administrative, technical, and physical security measures to protect the personal information of the people. The purpose of these standards is to protect a covered entity's computer systems and related buildings and equipment from fire and other natural hazards, as well as unauthorized intrusion. A fireproof security solution from K.L. Security Enterprises will help move you entity toward compliance with the HIPAA regulations. Each covered entity is required to address the following physical safeguard standards that concern the physical protection of data systems and data from intrusion and from environmental or natural hazards.
· Facility Access Controls
· Workstation Use
· Workstation Security
· Device and Media Controls

8. Do I really need a home security safe?

In the U.S. in the year 2000 there were nearly 1.4 million residential burglaries. That is an astounding burglary every 23 seconds. The estimated direct property loss from those burglaries was $1.9 Billion dollars with an average per occurrence of nearly $1,400.00. A quality home security safe can drastically reduce the chance of you losing your valuables.

9. Why should I buy a fireproof safe?

Depending on what you intend to store in your safe or cabinet you may want to purchase a fireproof safe or filing cabinet. If you are going to store any paper products, computer discs, microfilm or any other form of media you want to make sure the safe is fireproof. The UL rating on the safe needs to be at least 350°F for paper and 125°F for all types of media.

10. What are the chances that my security safe will be in a fire?

Many people understand the need to protect their valuables in a security safe. What people do not realize sometimes is that the risk of fire is also a major danger. In the U.S. in 2001 there were nearly 400,000 residential structural fires. The average fire occurs every 80 seconds, with an average total loss of over $14,000.00 per occurrence; the property loss for the year 2001 was over $5.6 Billion.

11. Why do I need my fireproof filing cabinet or safe to be waterproof, I don't live in a flood area?

When there is a fire there is usually going to be water. The average overhead sprinkler system releases 25-35 gallons of water per minute and fire hoses are anywhere from 100-250 gallons per minute. With numbers water is often the primary cause for document loss. Whether you sprinkler system or the firefighters save your residence or business it is very important for your fireproof safe and fireproof filing cabinets to be waterproof.

12. What is a Media Cooler?

A media Cooler is a great addition to any fireproof filing cabinet. When used in conjunction with any 350°F -1hr UL rated filing cabinet or safe it is certified to 125°F making it safe for all types of computer media. The compact design is also theft resistant and fits right inside your existing fireproof filing cabinet.

13. Is 1700°F a high enough testing temperature?

Yes! The average business fire in the United States burns at approximately 800°F for 20 minutes. Fireproof safes and fireproof filing cabinets are UL tested to withstand a temperature of 1700°F for an entire hour.


Do I really need a 2-hour UL fire Rating?

Not necessarily. Although some building codes do require 2 hour or even 3 hour UL Class 125 or 350 protection - you may not need to spend the extra money on it... Why you ask? Typically a fire burns at 800°F for 20 minutes, which means that a UL 125 or 350 1-Hour rated safe or file cabinet will work (they are tested at 1700°F for an entire hour) However, if you are in a rural or remote area that isn't necessarily close to the fire dept., then you may want to consider the extra fire protection that a two-hour or three-hour rating can offer.


How Do I open my safe if I lost the lock combination?

Call the Manufacturer - If you have a Schwab Corp. safe or file cabinet, call customer service Toll Free at 1-800-447-7233 (you'll need your serial number and / or model number)

This holds true for FireKing as well - call them Toll Free 1-800-457-2424


How long will it take to get my safe or file cabinet?

Some items - in the Schwab Corp. product line (QUICKSHIP PROGRAM) will leave the factory in 24-36 hours. This includes the Schwab Series 5000 Vertical fire files, 31" Deep (2LFD-5, 4LFD-5, 2CFD-5, 4CFD-5), Schwab Lateral File Cabinet Model 4HD43-5 (43" Wide Lateral Filing Cabinet) Schwab 2500 Series, 25" Deep (4LFD-2500, 4CFD-2500) in the colors of BLACK, PUTTY and Light Gray. Vault Doors will ship out in 48 Hours.

MEDIA & RECORD SAFES - Typical lead time is 2-3 weeks

All FireKing Trim Safes (small deposit safes for money, checks, etc under the counter model) ships out the same day your order.


What can I do to prevent WATER DAMAGE during and after a fire?

95% of all fires have water present . This means water damage can occur. One of the best solutions to water damage (be it sprinkler systems, fire hoses or floods) is the TRIDENT® Water Safe File Cabinets - this patent pending design is virtually inpenetrable by water spray. Even if you have a fire in one part of the building and the sprinkler systems go off, you can rest assured that these cabinets will prevent water damage.


Which is more secure? A fire safe or file cabinet with a key lock or a combination lock?

When it comes to a safe (far more secure than a file cabinet ) the lock choice really comes down to a matter of preference. WIth a key lock, only the person with the key can open the safe. However, you better make sure you have a spare just in case you lose it! A combination lock ensures that you don't need to worry about losing the key, just make sure you remember that combination. Most locksmiths charge approx. $60-$75.00 per hour for work so that combination change could be expensive. Most importantly, the safe offers more security than a file cabinet because of the deadbolts that are around all sides of the door.

Generally speaking most file cabinets come with a key lock or Medeco high security key lock that resists drilling and prying. There are optional electronic locks and combination locks as well, but the rule of thumb is that a fire file cabinet is truly designed for fire and water protection, not high security. Although a locked file cabinet is a great first step in deterrance of theft!! Choose a lock option that best fits your needs and preferences!

What is the Best Fireproof safe available on the market today?

This is a question our staff gets asked every single day - In reality there is no definitive "best" fireproof safe on the market, as every business or residential need is different. But in order to get the best safe for your storage needs, at the lowest price possible, we can help!! In all of years in the industry we have found that if your documents, business records, valuables or computer data are important, then you must protect them adequately. To do so, you need a safe with the proper UL Rating (don't be fooled by safes that are only UL Listed - often sold at box stores). - Remember, UL 125 for computer media, microfiche, film, photographs, jewelry, etc. UL 350 for any paper documents. In addition to this, we need to know how how much storage space you require. There is no sense in buying a small safe, if you think you're storage needs will be growing in the future.

Call John or Travis Today - Toll Free 866-867-0306 and we will help you find the right safe, at the right price to meet your storage needs!


Click Here for the best fireproof home safes

2 Hour UL Rated Fireproof Media Safe from FireKing

1 Hour UL Rated Fireproof Media Safe from Schwab & FireKing

Call John or Travis Today - Toll Free 866-867-0306


What is the difference between "fireproof" and "Fire resistant" ?

TECHNICALLY there is a difference - This is a commonly asked question - Remember, provided there is enough heat, NOTHING IS ACTUALLY FIREPROOF and everything WILL BURN . HOWEVER , we at KL Security Enterprises,LLC understand that consumers are lead to believe that there is a huge difference between the two terms. In reality, consumers have been conditioned to use the term "fireproof" - so in order to better educate public perception we also must use the term. UL (underwriters laboratories), the independent, non-profit company that provides the fire ratings for filing cabinets and safes provides testing standards for fire protection given certain amounts of heat.

For example the most common rating is a UL Class 350 One Hour Rating. Meaning that in the event of a fire, the file cabinet or safe will protect the paper documents inside in temperatures reaching 1700 degree F for one hour. The average fire burns for 20 minutes at 700 degrees F - so the "fireproof" protection that you need is there .

The actual classification from UL is for "fire resistance" - and we want to ensure you know the differences!!!

Note that not all products that are tested by UL are actually fireproof. Many manufacturers of "Fireproof" equipment advertise that they are "UL tested." However, being UL tested and actually passing the test are two very different labels. It is very important to distinguish between these fireproof products. All 'fireproof' products on the K.L. Security Website have all passed the UL Tests for their appropriate temperature and time ratings - Our Knowledgable Experts Will Answer Any Question You Have!! - and find the right fire protection solution for your EXACT NEEDS!


What makes something fireproof? Here are some of the basic ingredients for fire proofing materials.

Perlite and vermiculite are two of the most common ingredients in fire proof doors, cabinets as well as safes. Both are very light in weight, inorganic, inert and fire proof. For example - Schwab Corp. has a patented fireproof insulation material called Insulite - it is proprietary mix and blend that passed both the UL 350, UL 125 and UL 72 fire tests. The usage of both perlite and vermiculite are used by safe and vault manufacturers worldwide for their inherent fire safe protection qualities.