Fire/Record safes are designed and built to protect records, important papers, cash and valuables from fire. Some are also rated for burglary protection.
The manufacturing process for all record or fire safes, manufactured in the United States, is much the same. They begin with a hollow welded or a hollow molded composite metal box or can, this will be filled with a “wet” mix that looks much like concrete, they are dried in kilns, cleaned, finished and painted. This “wet” mix this is a very specialized product, when it is dried and sets up, it retains cells of moisture within the structure. These cells of moisture, when exposed to heat, change to steam, which is released into the interior of the container. The steam that is released perform two main functions, it keeps the interior temperature below 350 degrees Fahrenheit, for a prescribed time, and also provides a pressure seal for the small openings around the door, keeping heat and flames out. This release of steam is also why anything that will be damaged by moisture including, stamp collections, photographs, audio & video tapes, and computer data, should never be kept in a fire safe.
Most US manufactured record or fire safes are “labeled” or certified to meet the test requirements of Underwriters Laboratories. The following is a typical test criteria; U.L. Label/Class 350° – 1 hour: The safe will maintain an interior temperature less than 350°F when exposed to fire for a period of one hour at 1700°F. Safe must successfully undergo all other requirements for the Fire Endurance Test, Explosion Hazard Test and the Fire/Impact Test. Some are only labeled with a manufacturers label, or some other testing facility, whose criteria may or may not be as stringent as UL’s. You should be sure to check with your professional safe dealer, to have a full understanding of your safe label.
Links to Fire Safe Manufacturers
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American Security Products
Gardall Safe Company
Liberty Safe Company
Meilink Fire Safe Company
- Global Safes and Vaults Market to Reach US$5.2 Billion by 2015, According to New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. (prweb.com)
- Are Your Important Documents Safe? (turbotax.intuit.com)
- 45 Posts of the Best Steps for Fireproofing Your Home (homeownersinsurance.org)