Fire Ratings, Tests and Certificates

Firemen battle a large fireEvery fireproof safe carries a fire rating to indicate the level of protection it provides. These ratings are given in minutes and show how long the safe can withstand flames without its contents being damaged.

Safe fire ratings will also usually indicate what type of contents the safe has been designed to protect: paper (P), data (D) or diskettes (DIS). Of the three, paper is the most resilient, able to withstand temperatures of up to 177°C. You should always read a safe’s specification carefully to determine the type of contents it can protect.

Many manufacturers now build their safes to meet international fire resistance standards and submit them for testing to independent laboratories. There are a vast range of fire tests which a safe can be subjected to. Although there are many similarities between different tests, some are more stringent and more renowned than others, and may require drop/shock tests and tests to determine if the safe may explode if subjected to rapid, extreme heating (explosion hazard or explosive testing).

If a safe passes a test in an independent lab, it is usually issued with a certificate. Safes that have been certified in this way carry the best assurance of fire resistant ability.

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