Gun Safes & Fires/Shopping for a Safe.


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dk-corriveau
February 16, 2007, 12:23 PM
OK, so I am moving to Florida (Orlando) in about a month and I will be purchasing a gun safe (RSC) once I arrive. I currently have a small collection of firearms (see below), but will be purchasing a safe with extra room to accommodate future purchases and family heirlooms.

I was wondering if anyone here has ever had a house fire with a gun safe in it or knows someone that has been through such a tragedy. If so, what was the safe fire rating and how did it do?

Also, if anyone knows of some safe retailers with good prices and service that deliver to or operate in Florida that would be great as well.

Thanks of the insight!

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gunfire876
February 16, 2007, 03:47 PM
I am a firemen in KY, My father owns budsgunshop.com and security safe outlet. When people look at our safes and ask about fire protection I first ask how far they are from the closest fire station and what are they gonna be putting in it(money,media). If it is a regular gun collection I think 1200 degrees for 30 min is enough. If you want to give me a call I'll answer any questions you have Marty 859-983-4867 I have seen safes that have been in fires (both with and without fire protection) so I'll tell you about that also. I've got a friend somewhere in Florida that sells safes so I'll try to help you any way I can.

Roccobro
February 16, 2007, 03:49 PM
I was looking on line at prices the other day. I saw that Stackon has "shipped" prices better than a bunch of locally made safes. I don't know to their quality first hand though.

Justin

rich e
February 17, 2007, 10:58 AM
When I was safe shopping the FT-Knox salesman had a bunch of pictures with his customers safes that have been through fires..I was impressed!! One safe was on the third floor and ended up in the basement when the fire was put out..Still did its job..People had documents and money that survived ...Also,,Ft Knox is lifetime warranty...If it goes through a fire it is replaced for free!!!..Sold me on one....

a1abdj
February 17, 2007, 01:46 PM
Each gun safe manufacturer builds the best gun safe on the planet. Just ask anybody who sells that particular brand of safe.

The vast majority of gun safes offer limited fire protection, and very limited burglary protection. Gun safes are for guns. Gun safes are not for money, media, photographs, or valuables.

If you have any non-gun items to store, and those items are valuable to you, you would be better off buying a safe designed to store those items. There are some gun safes on the market that do offer these protections, but you usually don't see them at places that sell gun safes.

CB900F
February 17, 2007, 02:03 PM
Fella's;

As an addendum to A1abdj's comments: RSC's are almost certainly not going to protect the contents from a fully involved house fire. If the fire is not in the same area of the home, you could be OK. If the fire is in the same room, & the structure of the house, ie. frame, flooring, roof trusses, burns, you're in trouble.

Look at the 2006 Liberty catalog. Near the front, they show a fully involved home on fire, and you're supposed to think their safes will protect you from that kind of fire. Now, go to the back of the brochure & carefully look at their photo of their safe that went through a fire. You will not see burning damage close to the safe. You'll see a lot of damage, but not from flame. There's a reason for that.

A true safe, not an RSC, should give you the protection you want. But, they do cost more, for good reason.

900F

gunfire876
February 17, 2007, 06:34 PM
Actually our partner at the time sold that liberty safe.It was in Paintsville,Ky however that's why they are called fire protected not fire proof.If it get's hot enough it will burn or else the white house, pentagon, and trade towers would be fireproof. Most house fires get to around 1700 degrees.If you have a local fire dept. most fires don't burn for 30 min, they also vent them selves and most of the heat goes straight out the hole in the roof.like I said in my first post buy what you can afford and need. But buy your second safe first.Collections grow,if you have a safe when you buy a new gun all you have to do is beat your wife home;) Tell her you had the new gun for years.:neener:

dk-corriveau
February 17, 2007, 07:27 PM
Thank you all for the good advise!

gunfire876, I will give you a call once We get settled in Florida and have a chance to catch our breath.

karz10
February 17, 2007, 09:51 PM
Ok, so along the lines of the thread discussion, regarding RSCs vs Safes, and their potential fire protection, your proximity to fire station, what you're going to store in it, etc., let me share my situation, and see what you think about one of my potential plans. Please feel free to be honest, but tone down the flamethrowers :D

My first gun purchases are likely to be a pistol for HD, occasional carry, then add (not necessarily in this order) a carry/car pistol (keeping the HD pistol at home then fulltime), potentially a carry/car handgun for wifey, depending on how things go w/ the first two, and a HD shotgun. All of which would either be on person, or mounted in the house/vehicles for quick (but protected) access. Possibly using handgun vaults bedside, and the SG location has yet to be determined, but it would be a strategically located place, either in a wall cabinet, or some kind of wall mounted locking mechanism.

The point is, it will be quite awhile before I *need* a gun safe to store *extra* firearms, as far as I can tell. HOWEVER, I have a location picked out for a medium sized safe (60"x30"x22" let's say), in an upstairs closet, this is the best place for any safe in the house, so I need it to be multi-purpose. The closet will be deadbolted all the time, and the door to the room can be locked when not occupied. I plan to use the safe to store various files, computer disks, etc., BUT wanted to think long-term, and get one big enough to hold a few long guns, and a couple handguns, if my collection does grow to the point where my HD/SD needs are met, and something needs to stay in the safe. But I don't forsee having an 'expensive' collection while still in this house. Plus, in the mean time I figured I could store my range bag / ammo and stuff in there, to keep away from 4yo.

So, bascially, I was thinking that medium sized safe (RSC), not too heavy because it is going upstairs, but big enough to hold my data/files, and future long and hand guns, but not too many. While I would like some fire and water protection, I simply cannot afford those $2k-$3k+ safes any time soon, I don't think. FWIW, I live about 3-5 minutes from a quality volunteer fire dept, I'm in a subdivision w/ a fire hydrant across the street (literally), and I have a security system that monitors fire, that would sound an alarm (in addition to house wired smoke alarms IN EVERY ROOM), and if phones are up, fire alarm notifies monitoring center & operator has real-time access to listen to fire, alarms, and speak with anyone that might be in the house, but in any case, can notify first responders that a real alarm is set and to respond accordningly.

So with that said, and the budget in mind, protection for money spent, how bad would it be to have one of these deals that is supposed to be UL Listed for 1200 degrees x 30 minutes for $581 from Sam's:
http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/navigate.do?dest=5&item=189761

And since it's not waterproof, and may have limited fire protection, any valuable files and discs could go inside one of these (I'd buy like 2 or 3 of them) cases that is fire and water resistant:
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=3922135

I mean, for someone that needs a not too heavy safe upstairs, lives near a fire hydrant and fire station, has a fire monitored system in the house, and needs a multi-purpose safe, is this not a realistic solution, considered the money spent?

To be honest, I started looking at smaller ones for like $400, but reading on here and learning about the fire ratings, as well as buying the biggest one you can, I figured bumping up to this one for $600, getting a little fire protection, and supplementing real sensitive stuff by encasing them in those file safes, in side the RSC, I was thinking that would be the best $700 I could spend (for the RSC and the file boxes combined).

Thanks for your input...

Regards,

Karz

a1abdj
February 17, 2007, 10:51 PM
HOWEVER, I have a location picked out for a medium sized safe (60"x30"x22" let's say), in an upstairs closet, this is the best place for any safe in the house, so I need it to be multi-purpose.

There's really no such thing that's going to be in your price range.

I plan to use the safe to store various files,

UL 350 degree rating, usually moisture rich insulation not suitable for the storage of firearms

computer disks, etc.,

UL 125 degree rating, which includes moisture control. Can also be accomplished by storing the data in an insert designed for a UL 350 degree rated safe.

But I don't forsee having an 'expensive' collection while still in this house. Plus, in the mean time I figured I could store my range bag / ammo and stuff in there, to keep away from 4yo.

Secure the guns in a cheap locking cabinet or locked closet, and purchase a fire safe for your other items.

I live about 3-5 minutes from a quality volunteer fire dept, I'm in a subdivision w/ a fire hydrant across the street (literally), and I have a security system that monitors fire, that would sound an alarm (in addition to house wired smoke alarms IN EVERY ROOM), and if phones are up, fire alarm notifies monitoring center & operator has real-time access to listen to fire, alarms, and speak with anyone that might be in the house, but in any case, can notify first responders that a real alarm is set and to respond accordningly.

I hear this a lot from customers. You're buying the safe as insurance. If the worst happens, the safe is there to do its job. If you buy a safe that MIGHT protect your items, and can justify that by saying your risk of loss is low, then you might as well not buy a substandard safe. You'd be just as well off saving your money, and stashing your stuff in a box under the bed.

So with that said, and the budget in mind, protection for money spent, how bad would it be to have one of these deals that is supposed to be UL Listed for 1200 degrees x 30 minutes for $581 from Sam's:

That safe is not UL tested for fire resistance. However, in my opinion, that's exactly what the UL RSC rating was designed to do. The UL rating on that safe is achieved by keeping somebody with a long screwdriver and a small hammer out of the safe for a period of 5 minutes.

And since it's not waterproof, and may have limited fire protection, any valuable files and discs could go inside one of these (I'd buy like 2 or 3 of them) cases that is fire and water resistant:

It does make good sense to use a small document insert for important paperwork. However, data inserts are usually desiged to be placed within a rated safe. If you use them in an unrated safe, they may not perform as they should.

I mean, for someone that needs a not too heavy safe upstairs, lives near a fire hydrant and fire station, has a fire monitored system in the house, and needs a multi-purpose safe, is this not a realistic solution, considered the money spent?

As I said above, I would secure the long guns which aren't valuable in a secure cabinet. I would store the other important items in something specifically designed for that purpose.

A bed sheet would be a fast, easy, inexpensive solution for somebody who needs to jump out of an airplane, but I'd stick with the expensive option specifically designed for that use. You might not even need that parachute, but it's good to know you have that protection when it all hits the fan.

RNB65
February 17, 2007, 10:58 PM
Nothing short of Fort Knox (as in KY, not the Fort Knox brand of RSC's) is going to completely protect your guns. So make sure you have plenty of firearms insurance in case of theft or fire. If you're an NRA member, the NRA contracts with an insurance company to provide whatever amount of firearms insurance you need at a reasonable price.

karz10
February 18, 2007, 12:04 AM
Thank you for the detailed response. So if I may ask...

Quote:
HOWEVER, I have a location picked out for a medium sized safe (60"x30"x22" let's say), in an upstairs closet, this is the best place for any safe in the house, so I need it to be multi-purpose.

There's really no such thing that's going to be in your price range.


So what is an entry level price point, for what you would consider to be on the low-end of a quality safe that would do what these two things claime to do? I'm serious, not being sarcastic...

----
Quote:
But I don't forsee having an 'expensive' collection while still in this house. Plus, in the mean time I figured I could store my range bag / ammo and stuff in there, to keep away from 4yo.

Secure the guns in a cheap locking cabinet or locked closet, and purchase a fire safe for your other items.


Quote:
I live about 3-5 minutes from a quality volunteer fire dept, I'm in a subdivision w/ a fire hydrant across the street (literally), and I have a security system that monitors fire, that would sound an alarm (in addition to house wired smoke alarms IN EVERY ROOM), and if phones are up, fire alarm notifies monitoring center & operator has real-time access to listen to fire, alarms, and speak with anyone that might be in the house, but in any case, can notify first responders that a real alarm is set and to respond accordningly.

I hear this a lot from customers. You're buying the safe as insurance. If the worst happens, the safe is there to do its job. If you buy a safe that MIGHT protect your items, and can justify that by saying your risk of loss is low, then you might as well not buy a substandard safe. You'd be just as well off saving your money, and stashing your stuff in a box under the bed.



A) FWIW w/ a $500-$700 budget, I'm concerned if I buy a separate cabinet for guns, and a separate fire-safe for other stuff, either the budget will get out of control buying two higher-end products, &/or I will have too small of a space for the files/docs, and the guns will be too easy to steal in a cheaper cabinet.

B) So, do you think something like this: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=4324485 which apparently has NO fire protection, would be a better security box than a 'gun cabinet', while also providing security for files, while not threatening the future guns w/ moisture from the previously posted 'fire resistant RSC'

C) I'm concerned that saving my money and putting stuff in a box under the bed, even a 'fire box' would make it easier for a thief to walk off with. I mean, certainly even the cheaper RSC's I've posted are a theft deterrent, compared to loose boxes or cheap cabinets, right? Keeping firearms out of the kids hands are a given, has to be done, but keeping a thief from easily walking off w/ some papers or an extra gun is worth a few hundred dollars to me. If I had a few thousand, I'd buy a better safe, but that's not an option yet, so I'm looking for the best compromise, whatever that may be.


--------
Quote:
So with that said, and the budget in mind, protection for money spent, how bad would it be to have one of these deals that is supposed to be UL Listed for 1200 degrees x 30 minutes for $581 from Sam's:

That safe is not UL tested for fire resistance. However, in my opinion, that's exactly what the UL RSC rating was designed to do. The UL rating on that safe is achieved by keeping somebody with a long screwdriver and a small hammer out of the safe for a period of 5 minutes.


Ok, point taken the UL rating may be for the screw driver acces, I only mentioned it because I've already read a lot on the threads here, and heard some people referencing that as being relevant. But what about where the site says "Certified Fire Protection-Safe interior does not exceed 350 degrees for 32 minutes when subjected to a 1200 degree fire" granted you said this type of fire resistance may not be ideal for firearms (which sucks for people like me who don't know better, sinc this is advertised as a GUN SAFE), but what about other items, are they lying about it having been tested for the stated level of fire resistance, regardless of it's 'moisture rich insulation'?

----

And since it's not waterproof, and may have limited fire protection, any valuable files and discs could go inside one of these (I'd buy like 2 or 3 of them) cases that is fire and water resistant:

It does make good sense to use a small document insert for important paperwork. However, data inserts are usually desiged to be placed within a rated safe. If you use them in an unrated safe, they may not perform as they should.


Let me clarify my question, the fire boxes I posted are supposed to be "Engineered to offer dual-protection up to a half hour with UL-proven fire protection to 1550 F" on their own, so I figured if I put them inside the first RSC, then even if the interior of the RSC creeped above the 350 degrees, even doubled, or tripled, then anything inside these boxes would further protect the contents, as well as providing water protection (fire hoses, etc.), whereas none of the RSCs mentioned were water resistant. So I don't understand the statement that inserts not performing when not put into a compatable safe, because these are designed to be stand-alone, as small as they are, they're 41 lbs each.

The only reason I'm putting them in the safe (RSC) was so no one would walk off with them, and since I thought I found an affordable option for a good sized RSC w/ at least some fire resistance, having both levels of protection would certainly be better than one w/out the other, or nothing at all, right?

----

So, do you still recommend a cheaper cabinet for the guns & a separate fire-resistant box for other files? Or perhaps the other non-fire-rated RSC type box I just posted as a multi-purpose RSC to store both things (which is a better use of space for me), realizing it's less fire-resistance for the docs only being in the fire-boxes, no fire resistance for the future guns, but not hurting the guns w/ moisture?

Or, is there any benefit to having the extra fire resistance of the first RSC I posted, and put any files or sensitive material in the fire boxes within the RSC, and possibly put something inside to absorb excess moisture in the event I did store a firearm in it one day?

Or again, what is the entry level price point for a multipurpose safe in this size, that is not too heavy for upstairs, and provides non-harmful fire-resistance for a minimal amount of time?

Thanks!

Karz

CB900F
February 18, 2007, 09:58 PM
Fella's;

I am consistently amused by rationalizations. It's some of the best comedy anywhere, and it's free on the web.

900F

larry_minn
February 18, 2007, 11:24 PM
Some folks don't understand what other say I guess.

To topic. IF you can locate your safe to a lower level where it does not have combustable things near by. I.E. if it can be in basement on exterior corner on top of a (pallet) or other raiser (cement a footing 6" above floor with bolts into cement floor/lock cement shelf down then bolt to it)
If possible have floor drains (that do not require electricity to empty) nearby. (to prevent water damage) Every increase will increase the time/temp the safe can tolerate. I.E. you spend $30 on cinder blocks and wall off third side as well as anchor to two structure walls/your third built wall a (roof) over safe that is non-burnable.
(stuff that could be done)

karz10
February 19, 2007, 03:25 AM
Fella's;

I am consistently amused by rationalizations. It's some of the best comedy anywhere, and it's free on the web.

900F

Since that followed my post, I'm left to assume it was directed, in part at least, towards me. If so, I'm sorry if you feel I'm trying to rationalize anything. I never claimed to know anything about safes, I only started researching it in the last couple of weeks, hadn't yet found anyone that had time to educate me about them, despite visiting a safe dealer (who also owns a gun store) as they were too busy at the time to help me.

I've read a lot online, but as someone said, every dealer or manufacturer tends to have a biased opinion and be proud of their brand, etc. Many Web sites don't publish pricing, and I rarely have time to call them during business hours. Seeing that I needed something in the relatively short term, and seeing that at the one store I went to, the listed prices on stuff on the floor was $2k-$5k, not being prepared to spend that much, and seeing that other people on the forum recommended similar less expensive items:

Thread 1 (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=244577&highlight=sams+club+safe)
Thread 2 (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=134297&highlight=sams+club+safe)
Thread 3 (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=242609&highlight=sams+club+safe)

There are more threads like this, but I doubt anyone cares to review them, the point is, running across these threads, people were saying they were happy with some of these RSCs, and any debate about them was fairly generic (not a lot of detail).

Since this thread was a new/recent thread, and the original post contained these words but will be purchasing a safe with extra room to accommodate future purchases and family heirlooms. , and I wanted an RSC that would house personal items and eventually some firearms, I attempted to give a detailed description of my situation, goals, and budget, in hopes of getting some feedback, which I did.

I then tried to get a more specific breakdown of my options. I'm not rationalizing that $500 on a RSC is the same as $5k on a safe, but I also know that you don't always get what you pay for, and people on this forum have claimed that some $5k safes aren't much better than some $500 RSCs, so whatever amount of money I choose to spend, I wanted to get the best value for that money, and learn something in the process, should the opportunity arise where I may need to acquire a $3k-$5k safe, I'll already have a fundamental understanding of the basics.

I'm sorry if you feel a new forum member, and new RSC buyer is wasting your time, but I'm glad it was at least amusing for you.

Karz

talleymonster
February 19, 2007, 03:46 AM
There was some mention of fire-resistance of gun safes in the posts above. A gun safe is for guns. Storing papers, money, disks, etc in there might not be enough to preserve them. I would suggest that if you have a large enough safe, buy a small fireproof safe (the small document sized ones) for all of your priceless documents, pictures, money, etc. Another thought is to wrap your safe in 2 layers of 5/8 drywall. It might not look as pretty as the factory paint job, but the drywall would give it approximately a 1 hour fire rating. Just a thought.

karz10
February 19, 2007, 04:22 AM
Since I'm already getting flamed in here, let me ask what is sure to be a stupid question to some, but may fall on ears that at least acknowledge it as a legitimate and logical question...

My plans to put my RSC into a small closet, not much bigger than the RSC itself, made me wonder if there was any material that could be applied to the interior walls, door, and floor of the closet that could increase the protection to the space that the RSC is in. Since it's a small space, if the materials weren't too expensive, I wondered if it would't be worth the effort.

I know this reference is kind of out there, since I'm referring to a movie to explain what I mean, but Mel Gibson did a movie where he was a conspiracy theorist, and when the authorities came looking for him, he set his apartment on fire as he escaped, but the lining he had on the walls kept the fire from spreading beyond his apartment. Maybe if you've ever seen that, you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I was wondering if there's some kind of foil lined panels, you can cut and nail, screw, glue, whatever to the interior of the small space to help delay either the fire itself or slow the tempature from rising in the space, and use fire caulk for the corners and seams, or something. I thought I heard of some kind of spray on fire retardent too that you could put in an area like that to acheive similar results?

Again, if it was a reasonable amount of expense and effort, the thought crossed my mind again, after the previous post about adding another layer of drywall....I just figured since it was such a small dedicated space for this purpose, it might make sense to make any minor modifications to the environment to provide additional fire protection.

Karz

vtoddball
March 28, 2007, 03:49 PM
I've seen that movie. It's fantastic!!! I have to admit, I've always wondered what he used to line his apartment and if it was really possible. I'm pretty sure he had little thermite packs to ignite everything, but I don't know what the foil walls were.

Maybe the real question is....if a crazy, conspiracy theorist cab driver can get Julia Roberts into his apartment, why can't I? :rolleyes:

MAKster
March 29, 2007, 04:04 PM
The best deal on a low end RSC is the "Winchester" model sold at Sams Club for around $580. Its made by Granite Safes. It's much better than the Stack-On and Sentry models.

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