Choosing a safe is an easy task if a series of details are taken into account. Details such as the use that will be given, the most appropriate size or the price you want or can spend, are key when making a decision on which box is most appropriate for our needs.
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What use am I going to give to my safe?
Most home safes are designed to protect your contents from theft, fire or both. Some also offer some resistance to humidity and flooding, although this type of boxes is not very common.
There are many independent bodies responsible for carrying out tests that certify both the resistance to the opening of the box by force and the resistance to fire depending on which objects you want to safeguard. These are some of the characteristics of these tests.
Protection against theft
The boxes destined to the home do not usually go through certification processes such as the approved boxes used in the professional field, such as jewelers, gas stations, lottery administrations, banks, etc. and ranging from grade I to grades higher than IX for sectors that require maximum security.
The European Norm EN 14450 regulates the resistance to theft for home safes. The application of this rule results in obtaining resistance levels (Levels S1 and S2) against a possible theft. Said test consists of checking the time needed to access the interior of the box using a wide variety of tools. The longer the time required (depending on the tool used), the higher the resistance level, and the higher the resistance level, the greater the protection offered.
Some of the tools used for this test are: screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, ax, pick, fixed wrenches, levers, goat legs, drills, saw, file, cutting cutter, drilling machines, percussion drill, hammer drill for concrete , hammer hammer, and some tools used with abrasive or cooling liquids such as disk saws, diamond crowns, torch cutting, thermal (oxygen) lance, cutting and electric welding, etc.
According to the police, thieves usually go for those items in the house that can be easily taken and run. A safe weighing more than 30 or 40 kg empty becomes a very unattractive target compared to jewelry, cameras, small electronic devices, and other items that the thief has at their disposal and are easy to transport. The vast majority of security boxes also come with everything you need to screw them to the ground or some other place that offers enough resistance to deter thieves.
Along with theft, fire is the other most common concern of most safes buyers, but is fire a real risk?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) of the United States, says that during the course of a life there is a possibility among four of suffering a domestic fire large enough to justify calling the firefighters.
There are several types of fireproof boxes depending on what type of material they will protect and how long they can stand without their interior exceeding a certain temperature.
For example, certified fireproof boxes to protect paper documents should not exceed 150 ° C inside during a fire.
In the case of old recordings or magnetic tapes, a fireproof box that is certified not to exceed 65 ºC in the interior will be necessary.
Optical drives such as CD or DVD and magnetic computer hard drives are even more sensitive, therefore fireproof boxes whose interior does not exceed 50 ºC should be used.
This information must be specified in the technical characteristics of each fireproof box model.
In fire-retardant boxes for the home, the most common are 30 minutes of protection against fire, although you can also find boxes that offer one or more hours of protection, usually with higher prices.
Generally fireproof safes are subjected to the following tests in the certification tests:
- The average oven temperature is maintained in accordance with the ISO 834-1 standard fire curve, 60 minutes at 945 ° C, 90 minutes at 1000 ° C or 120 minutes at 1090 ° C, depending on the level of resistance required.
- During this test, the temperature inside a test piece must not exceed 150 ° C (paper protection) or 50 ° C (protection of computer supports).
- After 60, 90 or 120 minutes, the oven is turned off and allowed to cool down following the cooling curve (the test piece is removed from the oven after 16 hours).
Protection against water, although not yet widespread, tends to be an additional feature of some fireproof boxes or common safes.
In the tests these safety boxes are submerged to simulate the effects of a flood or the broken water pipe and check that the box is perfectly watertight and can safeguard the objects inside.
Custody of weapons
For the custody of firearms, there is a specific type of safe specially indicated for this purpose.
By law it is necessary to keep weapons in Graded I or Grade III approved gunsmiths. The Gunsmiths of Grade I are the indicated ones for the custody of striped long guns and 2ª2 guns of particular use. The Gunsmiths of Grade III are those indicated for the custody of small arms with license F for private use and as armourers for security companies.
Types of safes
There are many types of safes and ways to classify them, but we can differentiate them according to their installation form or final location in overlay boxes, to embed in the wall or the floor and camouflaged, which manage to pass unnoticed.
If we look at its usefulness we can classify them as:
- Security safes for the safekeeping and safekeeping of valuables, cash and important documents.
- Boxes with slot or hopper to manage to introduce money, envelopes or other elements of small size without having to open the box.
- Collection boxes, similar to the previous ones but with a more specific design designed to keep larger amounts of money on a daily basis.
- Caudalitas, small safety boxes to store cash.
- Boxes for the custody of keys.
- Security boxes for computer equipment and video recorders that allow the correct ventilation of the equipment.
- Fireproof boxes to safeguard all types of objects from possible fires.
- Gunsmiths for the custody of all types of firearms.
- Portable safety boxes.
Considerations to take into account
A simple way to determine the size of the safe you may need is to stack what you plan to put on it and measure the approximate dimensions of the set.
A fairly common capacity for the home is 20 to 40 liters, which can be used to easily store the most common objects and documents.
The closing system
It is important to assess which closure system is the most suitable for our needs, depending on its frequency of use, the necessary reliability or the degree of security required.