When it comes to safeguarding your valuables, whether it’s jewellery, important documents, cash or digital media, you want to invest in a high-quality safe. When it comes to quality though, you need to take several concerns into account. Safes are not there just to prevent someone stealing your valuable items; they also need to be able to survive a fire, flood or other possible natural disasters. As fire is the potentially the most likely to occur, and can do the most damage to your items, this is the one factor you should place before all others.

So, when buying a safe, ensure that your safe is adequately fire rated. Read on to find out more.

Fire ratings

The fireproof rating of your safe is based on the amount of time the safe can withstand certain temperatures. For example, a plate or single-walled safe won’t offer you much protection. They may be good for hiding your old poetry or love letters, but don’t expect them to survive a fire.

Fireproof, however, is a misleading term and should not be taken too seriously. If you buy a fireproof safe and think it will survive any fire, you are mistaken. Fire proof or rather fire resistant safes are usually rated according to time. The longer a safe can resist heat and smoke the safer it is against fire. Ratings start at 30 minutes and go up to about 120 minutes or more.

Another factor to consider is what items you plan on storing in your safe. Documents and jewellery can withstand the outside heat but digital data like flash drives and optical media are far more susceptible to high temperatures, even when securely locked in your fire safe. Paper can resist temperatures of up to 230° C while digital media can only withstand temperatures of between 50-80° C.

While most fires will be put out in under an hour, this is certainly not always the case, and some fires, especially in a commercial or industrial environment, can take two or more hours to extinguish. With this is in mind, if fire is a real danger, then it's best you buy the best fire resistant safe on the market.

Picking a fire safe

First you need to determine exactly what you want to store in the safe. Then you need to find one that is big enough to hold everything, with some extra space to add additional items later.

While most people's priority is to protect against fire, you also want your valuables protected against burglary and water. There’s no point your safe surviving the fire only to leak water and ruin your valuable documents inside.

What kind of fire rating should you look at?

So, you want at least a minimum one-hour fire rated safe. If this proves too expensive, choose the longest rated fire safe you can afford. When picking a safe make sure it is an independently certified safe and not just labelled as such.

Make sure it has a seal

The cheaper varieties of fire safes will not have a seal, which makes it prone to allowing in moisture and heat during the course of the day. A seal is important to protect your belongings from rust and moisture damage, and will help protect your valuables from fire, smoke and water.

Don’t go cheap

The best advice is to do comprehensive research; go into stores, ask questions and make sure that what you buy is adequate for your protection needs. Also, make sure that you buy from a reputable company with an excellent reputation in the industry.

Final point; never buy the cheapest safe you can find, it will prove very expensive in the long run when you it fails to safeguard your prized possessions.

Contact your local safe specialists and make sure that any safe you purchase is suited to your needs and budget.