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Safes: How To Purchase A


When determining what safe to purchase, consider:

  • What you intend to store in the safe
    • The type of content. For example, papers, film, electronics such as disks. According to the Wall Street Journal, to keep:
      • Most papers such as a paasport or birth certificate intact, you need a safe built to keep its internal temperature below 350 degrees.
      • Film, a safe built to keep its internal termperature below 150 degrees
      • Electronics such as floppy disks, the internal temperature should be kept below 120 degrees.
    • The volume the content will take up.
  • The hazards you wish to protect against
    • In general, safes protect against fire, or burglary, or both.
      • Fire protection is about the maximum internal heat inside the safe and the amount of time the safe will keep contents above that termperature. See above for temperatures.
      • Burglary protection is about the amount of time it takes a burglar to break into a safe, depeding on the instruments used.
    • A special safe is required to protect against water damage.
    • Check your Homeowners and other insurance policies to determine if there are minimum requirements.
  • What are you willing to spend?
    • Costs usually depend on the number of hazards protected against and the degree of protection
    • Consider the value of the items to be stored.
  • The location of the safe.
    • The amount of space available including obstructions to opening the safe door.
    • The maximum weight that can be handled in the desired location.

When looking at a specific safe:

  • Look for labels from Underwriters Laboratories, a product safety testing organization or Intertek (ELT). Avoid claims such as "UL-equivalent."
  • Look for a safe that is built to withstand at least 30 minutes of fire up to 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Check with your insurance company for recommended safe ratings and manufacturers.

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