“How long will a fireproof safe last in a fire?” For how long can you expect your safe to protect your valuables? To answer this question you can check the safes’ fire rating, as it directly determines how long it can withstand fire. This rating is given based on the specific tests and possible certifications, so it is factually based. To put it short:
On average a fireproof safe can last from 30 minutes to 120 minutes in a strong fire. A fire rating for a specific safe indicates how long (typically measured in hours) that safe can protect its contents from burning.
So if you have a safe with a fire-resistance rating of 1-hour, then such safe will withstand a fire for up to 1 hour before the temperature inside exceeds the limit and items inside are in danger.
However, there are additional factors that can influence the performance of a fireproof safe in a fire. These factors include the construction materials of the safe, the thickness of the safe’s walls, the type of insulation used in the safe, the design of the safe’s door, and the quality of the safe’s workmanship.
In this article, we will discuss the fire rating of fireproof safes and the other factors that can influence their performance in a fire. We will also provide tips for increasing the effectiveness of a fireproof safe.
How Long Will a Fireproof Safe Last in a Fire?
Fire-resistance rating shows the duration of a safe protection.
A fireproof safe can last for as long as its fire rating says it should. The rating takes into account the maximum external temperature that the safe is exposed to. And as long as this maximum is not exceeded, the expected duration for the safe is exactly what the fire rating states.
Let’s say you have a safe with 2 hour fire rating. The rating will say – “2 hours of up to 1700°F (927°C)“. Then if you put such a safe in a fire and the temperature will not go higher than 1700°F (927°C), the safe is going to be intact for the whole 2 hours.
If the temperature does outside the safe does go higher than 1700°F (927°C), there’s no guaranteed that the safe and it’s contents will not get damaged.
But if the external temperature is 500°F instead of 1700°F, the safe will most likely last much longer than 2 hours. Just because it was build to withstand more intense heat.
Fire ratings are expressed in hours.
Fire ratings are typically expressed in hours. For example, a 1-hour fireproof safe can withstand a fire for up to 1 hour before the contents inside start to heat up to dangerous levels. A 3-hour fireproof safe can withstand a fire for up to 3 hours, and so on.
Different fire ratings offer distinct levels of protection.
Different fire ratings offer distinct levels of protection. The longer the fire rating, the longer the safe will last in a fire. A 1-hour fireproof safe will offer less protection than a 3-hour fireproof safe. The longer the fire rating, the longer the safe will last in a fire.
You can refer to this table to see how higher FP rating offers better defense from fire:
Reliable Fire ratings are assigned by independent testing laboratories.
It’s worth mentioning that not all ratings are created equal. Proper safe fireproof ratings are assigned by independent testing laboratories, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). These laboratories test all types of safes under controlled conditions and assign objective ratings based on the results of the tests.
What Factors Influence Fire Resistance & Safes Longevity
The fire resistance of a fireproof safe can be influenced by various factors. On their own and collectively they can increase or decrease the performance of any safe. These factors include:
- The materials used to make the safe. The choice of fire-resistant materials used in the safe’s construction is pivotal. These materials are carefully selected to endure high temperatures and include steel, concrete, and ceramic fibers.
- The thickness of the materials. The thicker the materials used to make the safe, the more resistant it will be to heat and fire.
- The construction of the safe. The safe’s design and construction play a significant role. Effective sealing mechanisms, such as heat-activated seals, or tight seals prevent the intrusion of smoke and water.
- External Factors: Any safe’s performance can be influenced by external elements. The intensity of heat levels spikes, the safe’s location, and the overall duration of the fire will play a big part in how well it does the job.
Understanding these factors can help you make an better choice when selecting a fireproof safe. And here we review a safe with the Highest fireproof rating.
Tips to Increase the Performance of a Fireproof Safe
The obvious thing to do when you want your safe to last longer is to pick a model with a higher fire rating. But there are other additional steps you can take to increase the performance of your safe:
- Choose the right location for your safe. The best location for a fireproof safe is in a cool, dry place that is away from windows and doors. This will help to protect the safe from extreme temperatures and moisture, which can damage the safe and its contents.
- Regularly inspect and maintain your safe. Make sure to inspect your safe regularly for any signs of damage. If you find any damage, have the safe repaired or replaced as soon as you can.
- Keep your safe clean. Use a soft cloth to wipe down the exterior of the safe. Do not use harsh chemicals or cleaners, as these can damage the safe. Keeping your safe clean will help to prevent rust and corrosion, which can weaken the safe and its fire resistance.
- Store your valuables properly. For example, avoid storing valuables that are flammable or combustible in the safe.
By following these tips, you can directly improve the longevity of your safe in a fire situation.
Choosing a reliable safe is like choosing a trusty sidekick – you want it to have your back when things get hot. Whether it’s safeguarding important documents, cherished memories, or heirlooms, the fire rating is the first characteristic you should consider.
But you can always take a step further by picking the perfect spot for it, keeping it clean making sure everything works as intended.
As always – keep yourself safe and your valuables fireproof! 🔥
Frequently Asked Questions:
- How long UL Class 125 2-hour safe can last? If you take a UL Class 125 2-hours certified safe as an example it will last for at least 2 hours as long the external temperature does not go above 1700°F (927°C). And the average home fire usually reaches around 1000 °F. This means the fireproof safe can last even longer. With this type of protection the inside temperature will not rise above 125°F (51°C), meaning you can definitely store electronic devises and other computer media inside.
- How long UL Class 125 1-hour safe can last? UL Class 125 1-hour model on the other hand will last at least 1 hour under the same conditions. But if the house fire produces higher than accepted heat ranges, the inside of the storage box will reach higher temperature thus damaging the contents. It is impossible to say how long it will last in this case.
- Are heavier safes more fire resistant? The general rule of thumb is – get a heavy-duty class safe to have it serve longer in a fire. It will not guarantee the longevity in cases of abnormal fires, but in most cases, it will last long enough to preserve your valuables.