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Be PreparedHome Grab-and-Go KitIf you were forced to evacuate your home and you only had three minutes, what would you grab? Make it easier on yourself by creating a Grab-and-Go kit packed with all the most important possessions and vital items for you and your family. Create a Home Emergency Exit PlanTake time now to create an emergency evacuation plan to employ in the event of a fire, disaster or other emergency. Create a Home Inventory ListIs this hard to do? Not at all. But if a disaster occurs, you'll wish you had done it.What to Do If the Power FailsHere are some helpful tips and suggestions about fires and the use of fire extinguishers. Need more? Talk to your local fire and police officials about safety training programs in your area. Remember - be safe and be smart.What to Know About NOAA Weather RadioInformation from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about NOAA Weather Radio.Sample Home Inventory Lists Helpful RemindersThese forms may help you remember what was in your home. This will be crucial in the event of a theft, natural disaster or fire.What To Know When You're a RenterIf you're planning to rent, here are some things to consider and do before and after you sign the lease — and in case of a disaster. Mobile Homes Disaster Preparedness TipsIf you're one of the 22 million Americans that call a mobile or manufactured home "home," you're aware how important disaster preparedness is. In 2008, 45% of tornado-related deaths were people living in mobile homes.How to Display Your House NumberDon't hide your house! Know where to place your house number so it's visible.Home Office Organizing TipsTaxes, filing, inventories...sometimes you need to organize before you can start organizing!!Home Inspection TipsChances are, when you bought your last home, you hired a company to conduct a home inspection. But have you thought of having an expert inspect your home after you've lived there for awhile? Home Generator SafetyWhile home generators are handy for backup electricity in case of an outage, there are hazards to be aware of. 5 Easy Home Emergency Preparedness TipsHere's a list of five, easy emergency preparedness tips, direct from experts and people who have experienced a natural disaster first-hand.DIY at Home Safety SmartsWhether you're undertaking a huge renovation project or just hammering in a nail, it's better to be safe than sorry.Buying a Home SafeYou are looking for a way to protect your possessions and have decided to buy a safe. But what kind of safe should you buy?Create an Emergency Entertainment KitKeep kids busy in an emergency with these simple ideas.

Buying a Home Safe

You are looking for a way to protect your possessions and have decided to buy a safe. But what kind of safe should you buy?

Safe Types

Fire-resistant safes protect contents from fire.

Burglar-resistant safes protect contents from thieves.

Fire-resistant safes

Record or document safes

  • Designed to: Protect paper from fire
  • Construction: Fire-resistant insulating material sandwiched between two metal walls that keep the interior below the burning point of paper (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Ratings: 1/2-hour, 1-hour and 4-hour ratings
  • Certification: Should have either an Underwriters Laboratories' (UL) label or the equivalent. The Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit product-safety testing and certification organization and has tested products for public safety for more than a century.

Media safes

  • Designed to: Protect anything made of plastic, with magnetic or digital information or photographs.
  • Construction: The walls and doors have layers of heat absorbing material as well as layers of fireproof insulating foam that expand when heated to protect the contents from water damage. In addition, the conductive steel casing provides protection from magnetic fields and electrostatic discharges. Internal temperature must stay below 125 degrees Fahrenheit and maximum humidity inside the safe cannot reach more than 80% humidity during the specified time of the test.
  • Ratings: 1-hour, 2-hour and 3-hour ratings
  • Certification: Should have either an Underwriters Laboratories' (UL) label or the equivalent. The Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit product-safety testing and certification organization and has tested products for public safety for more than a century.

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Burglar-resistant safes

  • Designed to: Protect contents from thieves.
  • Construction: Solid metal walls and a heavy door resistant to attack by drilling, cutting or prying.
  • Ratings: Class rating (1 to 5) — based on a combination of door and wall thickness and resistance to attack; UL rating —letter designations for resistance to various types of attacks: DR (drill resistant), TR (torch resistant), TRTL (tool and torch resistant), X6 (for bankers and jewelers safes).

Note: A combination fire/burglar safe offers both types of protection.

More Safe FAQs

What do the fire ratings numbers mean?
The first number (350 or 125) refers to the maximum internal temperature of the safe. The second number refers to how long the safe was tested: 350-2-hour means the safe was tested for two hours at 1700 to 2000 degrees and maintained a temperature of 350 or less internally.

What are the Classes?
Class C Safe protects paper documents for up to 1 hour at temperatures up to 1700°F
Class B Safe protects paper documents for up to 2 hours at temperatures up to 1850°F
Class A Safe protects paper documents for up to 4 hours at 2000°F.

What about capacity?
Choose one large enough to hold everything you want to secure. Interior options include multiple compartments, drawers and/or shelves and racks. Make sure the compartments can be adjusted to suit your needs.

Where should I keep it?
Depending on the size and purpose, safes can be kept in a closet, mounted in the wall or secured in the floor.

What should I keep in the safe?
The most commonly kept items in a safe are: cash, jewelry, investment metals (gold and silver), photography equipment, coin and/or stamp collections, antiques, collectibles and heirlooms, trust deeds, wills and tax papers, firearms and ammunition (keeps them away from children too).

Where can I buy a fire-resistant or a combination fire/burglar safe?
Look for safes at your local hardware stores, big-box retailers and office supply stores. Professional home security system retailers and locksmiths also sell home safes and other security devices.

What is the average cost of a safe?
Small office safes like drawer and small file cabinet safes can cost $50-$150. A 1.5 cubic foot fire-resistant safe, which can hold small items and important papers, costs around $150-200. Prices range depending on the manufacturer, product benefits (fire-resistant, burglar-resistant,) size, weight, material, and the retailer.

What other things should I consider when buying a safe?
Be sure to read the fine print of the safe before buying to make sure it meets your requirements. Some safe manufacturers may also offer a warranty for the safe a certain time period.
Also, consider checking with your insurance agent. You may be able to receive a discount on your premiums or other benefits depending on your policy and which safe you purchase.

Be PreparedHome Grab-and-Go KitIf you were forced to evacuate your home and you only had three minutes, what would you grab? Make it easier on yourself by creating a Grab-and-Go kit packed with all the most important possessions and vital items for you and your family. Create a Home Emergency Exit PlanTake time now to create an emergency evacuation plan to employ in the event of a fire, disaster or other emergency. Create a Home Inventory ListIs this hard to do? Not at all. But if a disaster occurs, you'll wish you had done it.What to Do If the Power FailsHere are some helpful tips and suggestions about fires and the use of fire extinguishers. Need more? Talk to your local fire and police officials about safety training programs in your area. Remember - be safe and be smart.What to Know About NOAA Weather RadioInformation from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about NOAA Weather Radio.Sample Home Inventory Lists Helpful RemindersThese forms may help you remember what was in your home. This will be crucial in the event of a theft, natural disaster or fire.What To Know When You're a RenterIf you're planning to rent, here are some things to consider and do before and after you sign the lease — and in case of a disaster. Mobile Homes Disaster Preparedness TipsIf you're one of the 22 million Americans that call a mobile or manufactured home "home," you're aware how important disaster preparedness is. In 2008, 45% of tornado-related deaths were people living in mobile homes.How to Display Your House NumberDon't hide your house! Know where to place your house number so it's visible.Home Office Organizing TipsTaxes, filing, inventories...sometimes you need to organize before you can start organizing!!Home Inspection TipsChances are, when you bought your last home, you hired a company to conduct a home inspection. But have you thought of having an expert inspect your home after you've lived there for awhile? Home Generator SafetyWhile home generators are handy for backup electricity in case of an outage, there are hazards to be aware of. 5 Easy Home Emergency Preparedness TipsHere's a list of five, easy emergency preparedness tips, direct from experts and people who have experienced a natural disaster first-hand.DIY at Home Safety SmartsWhether you're undertaking a huge renovation project or just hammering in a nail, it's better to be safe than sorry.Buying a Home SafeYou are looking for a way to protect your possessions and have decided to buy a safe. But what kind of safe should you buy?Create an Emergency Entertainment KitKeep kids busy in an emergency with these simple ideas.