Is 20-30 minutes fire protection enough for my safe?

No safe is 100% fireproof. Anything man-made will fail if you heat it up to extreme temperature and keep it that way for an extended period. So, we are really talking about fire resistance.

When you are researching safe fire ratings, more is better. Unfortunately, the higher the fire rating the higher the cost of the safe. Moving from a 30-minute fire rating to a 1-hour fire rating will typically more than double the price of a safe. You need to ask yourself "What is a good fire rating for my safe and how long do fireproof safes last?” The answer depends on what will you store in the safe. Fire experts say that in a fire, your typical room will burn for about 20 minutes, and reach temperatures of around 600 degrees Celsius, which isn't hot enough to destroy most metals and earthly-made substances. However, paper ignites at 233 degrees Celsius. So, for fire rating of a safe the temperature inside the safe typically cannot exceed 172 degrees Celsius even though it is subject to 940 degrees Celsius in a furnace for 30 minutes.

Is 30 minutes fireproofing enough?

So, if the safe is primarily used for coins and jewelery, a high fire rating is not as important than it is used to store electronic data storage media or film.

  • Coins and jewelery - low
  • Notes, papers and documents - medium
  • Electronic records, backups and film - high

Consequently, most experts recommend a 20-30-minute fire safe for the majority of domestic situations.

Useful information

What you need to know about buying a safe.
Knowing what fire rating you need is an important question you need to address before purchasing your new safe. Having a fire rating more than you need can lead to spending than you have to.


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