Which safe is best for me?Fireproof

Every day we help our clients understand the pros and cons of fireproof safes, the variety of features, as well as the security or protection ratings. One of the most common decisions when buying a safe is determining which fire rating is best for the client. Typically if a client is a rural area we recommend a 2 hour or 3 hour rated safe. However, if the client is located in an urban area or close proximity to a fire department station then a 1 hour safe will suffice.

This rationale for choosing 1 hour versus 2 hour safe is based upon data compiled by insurance agencies, fire departments and the NFPA. The average fire burns at 800-1000° F for approximately twenty minutes. As such, response times for fire departments average less than 11 minutes in ninety percent of structure fires ( U.S. Fire Administration, August 2006).

Today we take a comparison of a 1 hour fire rated safe and a safe that is rated for 2 hours. We carry a variety of brand name safes including SentrySafe, FireKing, Hamilton, Cannon and GunVault to name a few, but we are going to focus on our most popular, the FireKing and SentrySafe brands.

What does a Fire Rating mean?

A safe with a fire rating will maintain an inside temperature that does not exceed a certain level for a certain period of time.  For example, a UL Class 350 1 Hour rated safe will maintain an internal temperature that will not exceed 350 degrees F for up to 60 minutes.  *It is important to note that a UL 350 rated safe is designed for the storage of paper documents and not computer media*

What is the 1 Hour UL fire rating?

The most widely recognized industry standard for commercial quality fire safes is the UL Class 350 1-hour fire rating. This means that when the safe is exposed to external temperatures of over 1700° F, the internal temperature of the safe will not exceed 350° F for at least one hour. All products with this records protection equipment rating are meant to store only paper documents and files.

What is the 2 hour UL fire rating?
When a 1 hour rated safe isn’t enough, the next step up is the UL Class 350 2-hour fire rating. Much like the 1 hour rating, this means that when the Sentry or FireKing safe is exposed to external temperatures of over 1700° F, the internal temperature of the safe will not exceed 350° F for at least 2 hours. These safes and fire file cabinets are meant to store paper documents and records.

Who tests the fireproof safe for 1 hour vs. 2 hours?
Underwriters Laboratories is the premier independent testing facility for fire ratings. Much like ISO certification or NQA-1 standards are a measure of quality and continual improvement, the U.L. certification is a standard of excellence in fire protection.
The U.L. label is very important to brand name manufacturers and all products that carry the label must meet or exceed the standardized test to qualify.  This higher level of quality can mean the difference in document protection or disaster.  

Other Products with a 2 Hour Fire Rating
Both FireKing and SentrySafe carry additional safes and fireproof filing cabinets with a 2 hour fire rating. The 2 hour fireproof cabinets are ideal for facilities fall under NQA-1 quality standards and may be applicable to contractors or businesses that work with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.