Are Fire Proof Safes Really Fireproof?

Are fireproof safes fireproof?  

If we are honest, fire can devour and melt everything at the right temperature. And in time. Even if the brands display their product as fireproof, the safe is only fire-resistant for a given period.

Is that a reason not to buy a safe? Investing in a document safe is still a smart decision to secure your money and documents from thieves and emergencies like a fire, hurricanes, floods, etc.

DALL·E 2022 12 29 16.55.01 a gun safe on fire

Are Fireproof Safes Fire-resistant?

When fireproof safes are UL classified, the product’s materials undergo several tests to resist heat. A safe that passes the UL standard can survive a fire for 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours, depending on the brand and type.

If the safe fireproof rating is below those numbers, you should not buy them.

According to a statistic, an average house fire lasts no more than 20 minutes. Especially if the responders are quick to react to the emergency; ergo, your valuables in the safe will be well-kept during a fire.

image 26

Examples of Fire Ratings for Safes

  1. Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) Ratings: UL rates safes for fire resistance based on the length of time that they can withstand fire and the temperature to that they are exposed. For example, a safe with a UL rating of “350-2 Hours” has been tested to withstand fire at a temperature of up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours. Other common UL ratings for safes include:
image 26
  • 150-1 Hour“: This rating indicates that the safe has been tested to withstand fire at a temperature of up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.
  • 200-1.5 Hours“: This rating indicates that the safe has been tested to withstand fire at a temperature of up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 1.5 hours.
  • 350-2 Hours“: This rating indicates that the safe has been tested to withstand fire at a temperature of up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours.

How Fire-resistant are Fireproof Safes?

image 27

You might ask, can’t the fire enter the small space in the safe’s door?

Well, that is another consideration the gun-safe makers take into account.

Luckily, most renowned brands can address this concern. And that is by inventing the “fire seal” technology on doors. What it does is that it blocks all possible entrances any flexible elements like fire, water, and moisture can use to bypass the door. (2)

Rating Agencies For Fire Resistance

Here are some common fireproof ratings that you may see when shopping for a safe:

  1. Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) Ratings: UL is a widely recognized testing organization that certifies products for safety and performance. UL rates safes for fire resistance based on the length of time that they can withstand fire and the temperature they are exposed to. For example, a safe with a UL rating of “350-1 Hour” has been tested to withstand fire at a temperature of up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.
  2. European Standards (EN) Ratings: The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has developed a series of fire resistance standards for safes and other security products. These standards are known as EN 1047-1 and EN 15659. The EN 1047-1 standard covers safes designed to protect paper documents, while the EN 15659 covers safes designed to protect digital media.
  3. California Department of Justice (DOJ) Ratings: The DOJ has developed a set of standards for safes and other security products used in California. These standards are based on the UL and EN standards but include additional lock strength and durability requirements.

Are Fireproof Safes Waterproof as well?

In general, safes are only fireproof for an extended time. However, if you pick a safe that passes the UL standard, you will enjoy the added safeguard against water.

Conclusion

A fireproof safe is a practical storage choice to keep your valuables from fire. They are an excellent investment.

References

(1) UL classified – https://www.thespruce.com/use-ul-listed-devices-1152506
(2) elements like fire – https://www.sc.edu/ehs/training/Fire/01_triangle.htm

How helpful was this article?

Were Sorry This Was Not Helpful!

Let Us Improve This Article!

Please Tell Us How We Can Improve This Article.

About John Fox

ebbb364ee14268bd3b77496cab3d1d78?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: Certified Alarm Technician (CAT)
Education: Denver Security Academy
Lives In: Denver Colorado

John Fox has worked as a security consultant in Denver for over 20 years.
With Safe Now, he's taken those two decades of experience and decided to share it to help people online make the right security decisions for their businesses and families.

John writes security tips and guides, product recommendations, and prevention guides.

| Reach Me