All About Safes
You’ve protected your home with locks and alarms; you’ve even got security cameras recording what goes on when you’re away. But what have you done to protect your most valuable possessions, such as cash, jewelry, and vital family records, photo negatives and computer data? For these, you need a safe.
A safe can preserve its contents, even if the building burns down around it. A safe will slow down a burglar, giving time for the police to respond to your alarm system. And a safe will give you the spirit to rebuild, even if the house has been damaged or burglarized.
Anatomy of a safe.
When closed, locked and alarmed, a safe is a formidable fortress that protects your possessions. But it also needs to be easy to operate for legitimate users. Call us to discuss the best models for your situation.
Not Your Average Office Supply Store Safe!
There are lots of bargain safes available at hardware or office supply stores, but they are not built the same way. They may look good on the store shelf, but how will they look in the basement debris of a burned building, flooded with water after being exposed to 1200-1800 degree heat for two hours? More importantly, what will the contents look like? (Or will the contents already be in the hands of a thief?) If the contents of your safe are important to you, give them the safety and security they deserve. Give us a call or come in and see for yourself the benefits of a well-built safe!
Different Construction for Different Situations
Safes can be built primarily for protection from fire, burglars, or both.
A “fire” safe is designed to insulate the contents from the heat of a fire. Cheap ones will have sheetrock (stops flames, but not heat); better ones will have a composite mix of concrete and other materials, plus a metallic door gasket material that expands and seals when exposed to heat. These will be UL rated as shown at left. Safes designed for photos or computer “media” will have additional heat protection.
A “burglar” safe is stronger. Whereas a fire safe might only have thin sheet metal that sandwiches its insulation, any teenager with a drill and a hammer could easily open it. A burglar safe will have high strength steel that could vary from ¼” to several inches thick. And although no safe is totally impermeable, the extra armor and technology takes time to penetrate -- time that a burglar can’t afford to spend on site. Portable safes are not a good idea; why save the thief the trouble of looking all over the house for your valuables when he can simply carry them all off at once! To prevent the thief from carrying away the safe, it must either weigh 750 pounds or be strongly secured to the building. Ratings are given if the safe can withstand a skilled burglar with powered shop tools for either 15 minutes or 30 minutes or more.
A Wide Variety of Safes
Not all safes are created equal. Some are designed for maximum security and are rarely opened. Others need frequent access. For instance, insulated file cabinets give full-time fire protection but only need to be locked when you’re away. Here’s a brief overview of different types.
Petty cash. This locked box typically resides in your desk drawer and contains maybe a hundred dollars. With no insulation and light enough to just be carried away, its main function is to provide you with control and ease of use.
Fake objects. This magnificent wooden chest is really a large safe. Sometimes the best defense is a clever one, with a seemingly innocuous object kept in plain sight. We can provide you with a number of safes that don’t look like safes.
File cabinets. Ideal for legal documents and available in portable (shown here) or full-sized floor models, these fireproof insulated drawers give immediate access to files. They have traditional file cabinet locks and give modest theft protection and a high level of fire protection.
Computer data. Keep your back-up files, programs, photos and other irreplaceable information safe from fire, theft (and even computer crashes!).
Gun safes. These are the best place to keep firearms safe and secure from accidents, theft and fire. There’s also plenty of room for your other valuables. (Note: Most "gun safes" at department stores or even at gun shops have either no fire insulation or inferior insulation made from wall board; their "lock" is often a very cheap and ineffective dial or key latch. Check carefully before buying.)
Traditional heavy safe. For major cash, gems and valuables. Similar to the large photo above, these provide maximum protection against fire, floods and theft.
Also available… safes that are hidden in walls, floors, and built into other objects. You tell us the threat, and we’ll show you how to guard against it.