Did you know that around 400,000 residential fires occur only in United States every year? Keep in mind that a standard wall safe will not protect its contents even though it is made of steel. It will just get so hot, that everything inside gets burned.
If you are going to buy a safe I recommend you to invest a bit extra and have it fire proof. That way you can save all your most valuable things even in case of fire in your home.
However be careful – many products sold as “fire safes” provide very little burglary protection!
Let’s see which materials can be used to be protected from fire.
- Sheet Rock Lining – it is very cheap and a disadvantage is that it dissolves under high temperatures. If you choose this one, then get it at least embedded with fiberglass – it helps to hold it together.
- Ceramic Wool – provides very good protection for up to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit (1300 Celsius). That is far more than an average house fire.
No matter what material you choose, always make sure that the protection is full lining. That means every side of a vault must be protected (including the bottom).
The vendors usually state the fire rating in hours – a minimum should be 1 hour of heat resistance.
Also keep in mind that fire proof vaults are not suitable for data storage media as the humidity inside is usually higher due to the heat protection.
If you cannot afford a product with proper (or none) fire protection, you should consider buying a small (UL rated) fire lock box. It can be placed inside of your safe and protect at least your most important documents or other small valuables.