10 Tips When Choosing Your Safe
Copyright © Aus Lock & Safe 2010
Is the primary purpose of the safe to protect against theft or fire?
- Theft Resistant Safes are designed to protect against theft and burglary. It’s important to realise that no safe is burglar proof, however theft resistant safes are rated based on their level of security.
- Fire Resistant Safes are designed to protect papers in the event of a fire. The insulation within the safe releases moisture when exposed to extreme heat which keeps the temperature below the level of paper ignition. They generally have little theft resistance.
What type of property will be stored in the safe?
- Items of value such as cash, jewellery, ipods, laptops, cameras and personal documents should be stored in a burglary resistive safe. Artillery such as rifles and pistols need to housed in a protected environment that resists forced entry.
- Important paper documents, records, wills etc should be stored in a paper fire resistant safe
- Computer and media discs, photos and film need to be stored in a data-media fire resistant safe.
Some theft resistant safes are tested and rated by the amount of time an intruder takes to crack the safe open. The materials and tools used (eg. angle-grinders, drills, oxy-torches) can determine the time frame it takes to open the safe. Insurances companies will cash rate a safe based on the following criteria:
a). Materials used to manufacture the safe ie. The thickness of the steel plate used on the door and walls
b). Barrier materials used to fill the door and walls of the safe
c). Quantity and types of locks on the door of the safe
d). Quality of the mechanism holding the door when in the locked position ie. Number of locking bolts and directions they lock in.
e). Re-locking devises attached to the mechanism to prevent forced entry
A cash rating will then be provided ranging from $5,000 - $500,000 in a non-supported situation (eg. no monitored alarm). If a monitored alarm is present the cash rating will be doubled (confirm this with your insurance company).
The fire rating labelling will indicate the degree of protection the safe and filing cabinet will provide its contents if exposed to fire.
Fire safe ratings can be based on specific time periods the safe will withstand effect from a fire ie. 30mins, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours and 4 hours.
To establish the fire rating safes may undergo various fire resisting tests;
- Fire Endurance
- Fire and Impact Test
- Explosion Hazard Test
- Combined Explosion and Impact Test
There are various authorities and sources that provide fire ratings by undertaking a diverse range of testing methods. Common testing authorities used by safe manufactures include;
Private Laboratory Testing
Read more about Fire Ratings
- The contents you are going to store in the safe will determine the required size and capacity of the safe.
- Be aware that the inside and outside dimensions of safes vary considerably.
- Allow for extra capacity space for additional items. It’s wise to account for 50% more room to plan for future growth.
- How much area size you have available for the safes final placement?
- How you will move the safe to this location? Be aware of door width and height measurements and compare these to the safes outside dimensions. Be sure to add approx 20cms for exposed lock hardware and hinges.
- If the safe needs to be moved up and down stairs ensure they are strong enough to support the weight.
- Can the floor support the weight of the safe?
- Do you need a safe removalist to move the safe for you?
- It’s important to remember that a safe is an investment not just a purchase.
- The price of the safe will be determined by the size, type and rating.
Be aware that many used safes have been broken into and repaired. You may not be able to tell this by looking at the safe. If you are prepared to purchase a reconditioned safe ask the seller if the safe has been broken into and repaired.
- Choose an accredited safe sales centre that will provide valuable advice.
- Don’t trust the option of a department store worker to guard you precious valuables.
- Aus Lock & Safe are professional safe technicians and accredited safe suppliers and will provide expert advice.
- There are many cheap inferior products out on the market. As well as basic home and office safes sold at hardware and retail outlets. While these safes appear attractive by price they generally do not protect the value of the items being stored.
- Inferior quality safes will not have fire protection ratings or cash ratings and therefore offer a lower level of protection
- Remember you get what you pay for.
- Installation of your safe is just as important as the product.
- Floor safes are lowered into the floor and can be cemented or bolted down and covered with a piece of flooring. They are easily installed in slabs in new homes.
- Wall safes can be hidden well and difficult to locate. They are installed by cutting a hole into the wall cavity and covered with an object.
- Free standing safes are best located out of site. The weight of a large safe makes them difficult to move. Most safes have anchor points so they can be bolted down to floors or walls.
- If you are investing in a safe then ensure it’s installed correctly. Aus Lock & Safe can arrange installation of your safe.