There are a few different types of safe available for home and business use today. Below are the general classifications available;

Fire or Record Safes

Burglary Safes

Data Safes

Gun Safes

Floor Safes

Many different types of special application safes.

Until recently you had to make a choice between a fire safe and a burglary safe, but now there are such things as fire rated burglary safes. Most safes, by the way, are rated relative to how long they will keep the contents safe from fire or burglary. There are independent laboratories which test safes for durability, the most well known of these is Underwriters Laboratories.

There are some classifications you might hear mentioned in conjunction with burglary safes which indicate the types of testing the safe has been subjected to in order to gain the rating.

TL = Tool attack. Signifies a combination-locked safe designed to offer a degree of protection against attack by common mechanical and electrical hand tools and any combination of these means. Indicates a sustained attack with common hand tools, picking tools, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinding points, carbide drills and pressure applying devices or mechanisms.

TR = Torch attack. Indicates that a cutting torch was included in the attack.

These ratings are usually followed by a number which indicates the period of attack in minutes, e.g., TL15 = 15 minute attack with tools, TRTL30 = 30 minute attack with torch and tools. It is important to note that these times are for sustained attack which means that the clock was running only when the safe was actually being attacked, rest time between attacks was not counted, and the tests were conducted by professionals who had access to engineering drawings.

There are yet another set of classifications for the type of combination lock on the safe and more classifications based upon the number of sides of the safe that are attack resistant.

Fire ratings are also available and usually have a classification on a label attached to the safe. Such a label might read, "Class 350, 1 Hour Fire Label". In order to earn such a UL label the safe must, "maintain an interior temperature of 350F when exposed to a fire for a period of one hour at 1700F. Safe must successfully undergo all other requirements for the Fire Endurance Test, Explosion Hazard Test and the Fire/Impact Test."

Because of the delicate nature of magnetic media and because it is usually a combination magnetic/plastic construction a standard fire or record safe can not protect the contents from the intense heat. There are special safes, called Data safes, constructed to keep these types of materials intact during a fire.

If you have firearms you will want to ensure their safety also and there are special gun safes available designed to protect them. Some of the gun safes are very decorative and can double as a showcase when open.

Floor safes are intended to be installed in a concrete floor and come in round and square shapes and many different sizes. Naturally you wouldn't want a floor safe installed where there is a danger of flooding.

Many specialty safes are available for business applications ranging from safes with hoppers on the top or side to true vault doors. Call Rick's Locksmithing to discuss your specific business safe needs, if we can't supply them, we will refer you to someone who can.

A safe itself can provide a hard target for the thief. Smaller safes, 300 pounds or less, should be bolted to the floor to prevent their removal. You may be considering a wall mounted safe and should realize that they usually offer little protection unless they are mounted firmly in a solid wall which can help prevent attack.

Combinations on safes should be changed with some regularity to avoid compromise and you might ask for that service to be included in an annual servicing agreement. Safes need to be serviced at least once a year to make sure they stay in good working order. Servicing usually involves cleaning of the combination mechanism and any adjustments needed for better operation.

Remember, safes are designed to be hard to get into. A malfunctioning safe can be very expensive to open while a regular service schedule can catch problems before they become lockouts.


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