Using a safe in your home

Privacy and security are important. Identity theft is a growing crime and burglaries are an everyday occurrence. For many households, installing a home safe is a sensible precaution for protecting important documents and valuables.

Home safes are built to serve different purposes. Fire resistance, burglar resistance and water resistance are the three main purposes for safes. Some safes can provide protection for all these problems, others only meet one or two. Protecting important documents from a fire is often the most important reason for getting a safe.

Fire Resistant Safes
Fire resistant safes are designed to protect documents, electronic media, and photos from a house fire. These safes are rated to withstand a designated temperature for a 30-minute period. As most house fires move from room to room, a fire will often burn near the safe for about 20 minutes then move on.

Safes which hold electronic media, CDs and DVDs, or celluloid products, will often require a rated lower temperature than a document safe. Document safes are usually rated at 175 degrees for 30-minutes. This type of safe should have an Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) or Intertek (ETL) rating of fire resistance.

Burglar Resistant Safes
These safes are designed to withstand partial or full penetration for a specified amount of time. They are often required to be fixed to the floor or a wall, to stop them being removed. This type of safe is designed for keeping valuables, and will have a Eurograde rating from 0 to 6, some also have an Association of Insurance Surveyors (AIS) rating. Household safes are at the lower end of the scale. They are often not fire or water resistant.

Locating a safe can be a challenge. Thieves often target master bedrooms first, so may not be the best location for a safe. Often placing the safe in a basement, with less fuel to burn, will reduce the risk of fire damage to the contents. If in a flood prone area, placing the safe above known flood levels is recommended.

Water Resistant Safes
The most expensive type of safe for general household use is water-, fire- and burglar resistant. These models are designed for documents, valuables and media. They are rated to withstand full immersion for 24 hours, in the event of a flood.

Safe Locks
There are several options for opening safes. They are available with key, Dial Combination, Electronic Keypad and Fingerprint sensor opening mechanisms. The electronic keypad and fingerprint sensors run on batteries and require monitoring.

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