The first step is to determine who or where you will buy your safe from. There are many places to buy a safe today, you can buy from a “big box store”, an office supply store, a furniture store, a hardware store, online, or even from a professional safe retailer or locksmith.
With any other than the safe retailer or locksmith you run the very real chance of not being able to get qualified advice as to what you need, not being able to arrange service or repair should the need arise. When you buy from a professional safe retailer or professional locksmith who also sells safes, you are likely to be dealing with someone who knows which safe will best fill your unique needs, these people make their living by selling safes, they know how a particular type or model will perform, they know the features and benefits, and what they are meant to protect. Being the experts they are, they also offer service, repair and delivery services.
Would you really trust the protection of your priceless valuables to the advise you will receive from a minimum wage stockperson at a “big box store”?
What do you want to protect and what do want to protect it against? Cash, jewelry, guns, important papers, or computer media could all require a completely different kind of safe.
Modern safes are manufactured specifically to protect against specific threats, a safe meant to guard against burglary, may not protect papers from fire. A fire safe, because of how it works, may actually destroy computer media or video tapes.
Burglary and jewelry safes are tested and labeled by a testing group according to how long it would take an expert thief, with all of the proper tools to break into the safe. The more time it would take, the more you have to pay for that safe. Contact your professional safe retailer for a complete discussion on burglary ratings.
Modern fire safes manufactured in the United States are tested and rated to keep the interior temperature below 350 degrees Fahrenheit for a specific amount of time, usually expressed in hours. The char point of paper is 405 degrees Fahrenheit, so therefore would be protected from burning. This is accomplished by the fill material in the safe releasing trapped moisture in the form of steam to keep the temperature within the proper range and seal entry points against heat and flame. This release of steam could destroy video tapes, photographs, and computer media.
Modern media safes are constructed using a dry fill that does not release moisture. These safes are usually much more expensive.
With the opening of world trade, and markets in the last few years, there are many safes being sold that are built in other countries, and some of them are labeled by groups other than ULâ. Some of these safes are very well constructed, some are very poorly constructed. The problem is that the testing standards are not the same, the construction requirements are not the same. It takes real diligence to be sure you are getting the protection you think you are getting. This is another reason you need to seek out a professional safe retailer.
Next you should decide what size safe you need, be very honest with yourself when estimating what will be kept in your safe, it may only be a little more expensive to buy a larger safe than you need today. Having to buy a new larger safe could be much more expensive.
If you buy a properly rated safe, built to protect what you are putting in it, could result in homeowners insurance savings, check with your insurance agent. Be sure that you follow whatever requirements they may have, failure to do so could result in no coverage.
Have your needs defined, and your questions ready, then visit a professional safe retailer or professional locksmith.
This article was posted on Aug 23, 2005