Your safe is like a parachute. You hope you’ll never need it, but in the event you do, you want a really good one. Gun safes are made to keep your guns, ammunition and other valuables safe from thieves and fire. A good quality safe will most likely do the job, and we have an example of one of these safes. When purchasing a safe, it can be confusing knowing what fire rating to get. We want to provide some information on what to look for in a safe to provide the best possible outcome for your belongings in a fire.
The most important thing to understand is that no safe is “fireproof.” There are no fireproof consumer safes on the market today; they are all fire resistant. This means that the safe can resist heat and smoke (and some protect against water) for a given period of time, usually 30 to 150 minutes.
We recommend purchasing a safe with a minimum 1 hour rating. Safes with less than a 1 hour rating will not provide adequate protection to survive a typical home fire. If you have a limited budget, select the safe with the longest fire protection you can afford. It makes no sense to purchase a safe that won’t adequately protect your guns and valuables.
A typical house fire burns in the 800 to 1200 degree temperature range. Fire resistant safes are engineered and designed to keep the internal temperature of the safe below 350 degrees. Paper begins to discolor at just above 350 degrees, scorch at 410 degrees and ignite at 451 degrees. Guns are able to withstand heat longer, but plastics and other pliable materials have different melting points depending on their thickness.
There are safes on the market for varying periods of time as well as higher temperatures. Be aware that some fires can burn at 2,000 degrees or higher, so having a safe with a higher temperature rating would be helpful in those instances.
Another important aspect to protect the items in your safe during a fire is the fire seal on the door. Many cheaper safes don’t have a fire seal at all, but this is an important part of a good fire rating. During a fire, the fire seal will expand to seal out fire and smoke. It will also keep water used to extinguish the fire from entering the safe.
Basically, if you want to protect your guns and other valuables, you can’t go cheap. Make sure your safe has adequate protection so your items have the best chance of surviving the worst.
Here’s an example of a recent home fire in the area. The house was a total loss. The homeowners had 16 guns in their safe and they all came out with only cosmetic issues. Even with bullets and guns inside the safe, none went off. The fire was so hot, the dial was melted off the safe, and the door seal was charcoal, but the contents survived.
For more information on safes in Perry County, please call 717-636-1878 or Contact Us.