Is fire resistance necessary for a safe?

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by TTv2, Apr 22, 2022.

  1. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    For me the biggest appeal to a gun safe is the fire resistance not just for guns, but for any other valuables and gun safes offer a lot more space inside than the $20 or $50 safes that are mostly for documents. However, I'm not yet a homeowner and the way the market is currently with prices seemingly never going down, I'm stuck renting and moving 400+ lb safes every couple years isn't feasible and, as far as I know, safes lighter than that that can hold rifles aren't fire resistant.

    Is it worth spending the money on a safe that's easier to move but isn't fire resistant?
     
  2. drband

    drband Member

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    Buy a non fireproof safe and a small fireproof box for documents to put inside. You’ll save money and be just as protected.
     
  3. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    Turns out that Tractor Supply has fire resistant safes that weigh under 250 lbs and cost less than $500, which is pretty much what I'm looking for.
     
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  4. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

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    There is a seal around the door activated by heat, with additional layers of type X drywall in the walls increasing the fire rating.

    IIRC mines a one hour .. meaning two layers of 5/8 type X
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2022
  5. DukeConnor

    DukeConnor Member

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    Only during a fire.
     
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  6. lightman

    lightman Member

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    To me its another possible level of protection. It is often debated if it works. But to me a maybe is better than none at all.
     
  7. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Might be.
    Many fully-involved structure fires will easily leave the fire temperature ratings of RSC well behind.

    Against that is the fact that most multifamily dwellings are required to be protected with fire sprinklers, which not only reduces risk of spread, but lower the likelihood o a fully-involved fire, too.

    And, you are generally not allowed to bolt things down in rental properties, so there is a logic for using Stak-On or similar sorts of security containers.

    Keeping the weight down to 200 to 400 pounds is probably better just for getting up stairs and into cramped apartments, too. There's a logic for using things like "bedvault" too--as out of sight is out of mind, which can be important where maintenance people might need to get access to your apartment.

    Now, in a rent house, I might be more inclined to investing in a 600-800# safe.
     
  8. N555

    N555 Member

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    Politicians and thieves take way more guns than fire.
     
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  9. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I have bore witness to over 25 gun safes involved in fires. None of the contents were salvageable as recovered.

    That is not to say they were not salvageable. Refinishing was required for anything that was not heated beyond its heat tolerances. Most of them were unsalvageable entirely though.

    My advice is to buy a cheap "safe" and install your lock mechanism of choice if it does not come with one you want. IOW, for me, a 16-20 gun size safe is fine but these usually come with the craptastic Elocks. I replace it out with a mechanical.

    Sized the\ way you want it and as heavy as you want but try to keep the cost as low as possible. Any criminal can get into a modern day gun "safe'" (RSC) and any fire can destroy its contents. A safe is better than a cabinet but only by a little.

    There is caveats to this of course. I personally THINK the biggest baddest safe that Liberty, Browning, etc. have available will generally serve you well and can be pretty fire retardant if placed in a basement or the garage. The 4-6000 lb weight will keep them from being stolen or moved and at that level, they are fairly pry tool resistant as well as cutting tool. It would take a lot of muscle, noise, gas, and abrasive blades for a Stihl TS800 to get into one but it could be and has been done.
     
  10. rkittine

    rkittine Member

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    When I build my current house, I had a gun room built into it. No windows, one door and an additional alarm system. No Safe Rash, easy to get at all my firearms and though it is not fireproof, I doubt if I could get a major fire out quick enough to salvage anything out of a "Fireproof" Safe, good for 45 minutes or so. My main concern is to stop theft and access by people who should not have access.
     
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  11. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    I asked this question elsewhere and it seems pretty questionable what level of protection there'd be against a fire and those that are fire resistant can be corrosive on guns stored in them. That's a turn off, however even if it's not a fire in my house or building, but one next to me, I know someone who had a fire in their apartment complex and it was just across the street, heat was enough to melt the siding off her building. Obviously a fire resistant safe would have protected some of her things had she had one.

    One thing I'm thinking about is that with weight being a factor, I'm thinking it's better to have 2 or 3 smaller safes as opposed to just one big safe. I could start with a non fireproof safe and get a second with fire resistance later. Also, this would make breaking into a second safe require twice as much work for anyone trying.

    Thoughts? Better to have several small safes vs one big one?
     
  12. FAS1

    FAS1 Member

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    Don’t believe any manufacturers own fire rating. Make sure it has a rating from a reputable testing organization like Intertek.
     
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  13. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    This is probably especially true for OP, being in rental property. Apartments, and rent houses, often have smaller closets and room dimensions. So, more, smaller, might be "more discrete" than one large & big.
     
  14. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    From your experience as a dealer, what might you recommend to an apartment dweller who might need to have to navigate narrow doorways and weight-limited upper stories (and no bolting down)?
     
  15. Big Wes

    Big Wes Member

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    If you ever have a fire in your house and the fire dept. shows up with one of their pump trucks, you can count on your guns getting ruined. That liquid in those trucks isn't just water it's got some kind of caustic stuff in it an it will seep into your safe. I had friend who had a fire and 4 safes in his garage full of his fathers gun collection / antiques, you name it he had it. Sadly lots of them got damaged.
     
  16. drband

    drband Member

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    Water dripping through burned ash results in lye. Highly alkaline and caustic.
     
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  17. Atavar

    Atavar Member

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    I am a retired rural firefighter. Fire resistance in a safe is rather a myth. It *may* help you out if you put the fire out in the first quarter hour or perhaps if it is in a light building like a garage or a shed or even better if it is in a steel and concrete structure with little combustible material.
    In a home fire your safe is going to end up in the basement under a huge pile of embers that will be very hot (conservatively 600°C) for days (no matter what floor the safe *was* on). No amount of insulation is going to keep that heat out of the safe for even a couple of hours.
     
  18. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    If you have a basement.

    This makes sense, if the fire is big enough and floors, walls, etc. collapse it's going to be in contact with the safe for a long time and likely the heat will exceed the rating for much of that time. At that point whatever limited fire resistance a safe has is useless.

    Seems like lighter cabinets and non fire resistant safes are in fact the way to go.
     
  19. FAS1

    FAS1 Member

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    I'm not a dealer, I only manufacture and sell my own brand of quick access handgun safes. As far as living in an apartment I would buy a Zanotti Armor modular safe and bolt it to the wall studs. Sheetrock is an easy fix when you move. It doesn't have any "fireproofing" other than relatively thick steel for a modular safe, but again I believe most fireproofing on RSC's is a gimmick and provides very little real protection. Use a small fireproof coument box inside if you just have to have some important papers you want to keep at home. To do it right on fire resistance, you need to look at something like an AMSEC BFII series RSC and they are heavy to move and too pricey for most, especially at today's steel prices.

    The other benefit of bringing in a modular safe in an apartment complex besides just being easier to move in tight places or up stairs is that any of your neighbors that see you bring it in will just think you bought a piece of Ikea furniture.

    pallet-250x188.jpg
     
  20. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Sure, if you never have a fire. If one should ever occur, at that point being fire resistant would be more important than difficulty of unauthorized access.

    Your dice, your roll.
     
  21. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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  22. Golfanaticshooter

    Golfanaticshooter Member

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  23. FAS1

    FAS1 Member

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    This is kinda what I mean when I say only to trust the test from a reputable certified testing facility and not the manufacturer. Too many unknowns and variables when each manufacturer makes their own test and how trustworthy are the results?

    Can you point me to what the NIST procedure is for testing a safe? As far as I know, this test is meant for testing structures and construction materials, not safes specifically.

    Also, when you see those certified labels, who certified them, the manufacturer?
     
  24. rperyam

    rperyam Member

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    I know when our neighboring town of Paradise, CA burned to the ground, out of 48 fire resistant safes that the local safe company sold to residents, none survived. All guns and contents burned or melted due to the heat. My safe is now is counted on to protect against thieves and prying eyes rather than fire protection.
     
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  25. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    I've had a non-fireproof safe for about 30 years. So far it has been adequate. But then I've never had a fire. ;)
     
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