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How To Choose The Right Commercial Safe

It’s definitely necessary to protect the important papers and valuables pertaining to your business or commercial building. With so many safes and safe locks available, how do you find the right one?

What is the value of the items you will be placing in your safe? How valuable the items are will obviously determine the level of security you require.

There are standard categories of safe classes. The class of safe you select will play a role in your insurance coverage and claims. The coverage increases as the class of safe goes up. The class of a safe ~ from TL15 (approximately $150,000 of coverage) to TRTL60X6 (approximately $2 million or more of coverage) ~ is determined by tool resistance (i.e., level of resistance to picking tools, carbide drills, hand tools, and mechanical or electric tools); torch resistance; time testing (i.e., how long it takes a safe cracker to break in); and area testing (i.e., how easy it is to get in the front door, or all the sides). A TL15 rating means that the door of the safe can successfully resist entry for a net assault time of 15 minutes by a thief with common hand tools, picking tools, drills, mechanical or portable electric tools, grinders, or pressure devices. The average business owner prefers to have a safe that is class TL30 or higher, since they are time-tested to at least 30 minutes.

How large should your safe be? A basic way to see how big your commercial safe should be is simply to pile up everything you plan to put in it, and measure it. In general, the safe you need is probably much bigger than you think. It’s a wise idea to consult with a professional about which of your business items ought to be protected by a safe, and then you can more mathematically determine how much space will be needed. If you’re in Castle Rock, Colorado, you may want to hire an expert safe technician who’s on staff at 24/7 Castle Rock Locksmith.

What about fire protection?

Besides classes of commercial safes, there are various official fire ratings. No safe is completely fireproof, but there are different levels of fire resistance. Safes are tested and certified for the length of time they can safeguard your valuables from fire. A fire rating of one hour or greater is the most desirable. Safes rated to protect paper documents shouldn't get any hotter than 350 degrees Fahrenheit on the inside during a fire. A safe that provides substantially more fire protection along with optimal theft protection will have walls made of steel and a steel door, housed in a layer of composite material as strong as concrete. Don’t forget a fire seal on the door, which will seal out most moisture from entering the safe on a daily basis, helping to keep rust and corrosion away from your valuables. During a fire, the fire seal will expand to seal out fire and smoke, and keep water from entering the safe if water is sprayed on the safe as the fire is extinguished. One last point to keep in mind is that if you have a safe with a low to moderate level of fire resistance, it won’t provide very much theft protection at all. If you desire both theft and fire protection, then you’ll need a top-quality composite-fire safe, a burglar-fire safe, or a high-security TL-rated fire safe.

What type of safe do you need?

  • You may prefer a depository safe. With this type of safe (also called a drop safe), money, or other small items, such as documents or keys, can be dropped into the safe through a little door at the top of your safe, without allowing access to the main safe compartment. These safes are popular for restaurants and retail businesses. The only way to gain access is by inputting the correct credentials to get the door open.
  • An office safe is also common for retailers and restaurants. Freestanding or bolted to the floor, they often have fairly high fire ratings. This is also a safe that cannot be opened by repeated dropping.
  • A data or media safe is for effectively protecting your business information. It’s certainly vital to safeguard your electronic devices from theft and fire. Computer disks and all other digital media are very sensitive to temperature, so you’ll need a safe whose interior won't exceed 125 degrees Fahrenheit or 85 percent humidity.
  • An in-floor safe is concealed in concrete on the ground, and thus adds an extra level of security. One drawback is that you’ll have very little fire protection, because there’s no fire board to dissipate the heat. So, if you need to protect any cash or crucial papers, you should choose a free-standing composite-fire safe, a burglar-fire safe, or a high-security burglar-fire safe with a 1- to 2-hour fire rating; then anchor it into a concrete floor with a good number of bolts.
  • A wall safe is also not easily seen. Your safe can be totally hidden (behind a picture, for example). It’s not the most secure choice, however, since it is attached to the studs in the wall, and therefore can be easily cut or pried out. Keep in mind that the only fire protection provided is going to be limited to the sheetrock in your wall.
  • A high-security safe, just as the name says, is obviously the toughest and most secure safe around. These safes will often include numerous types of barriers that will prevent drilling. They’ll also have additional locking mechanisms that will deploy if someone ever attempts to force your safe open. Of course, a maximum level of security comes with a higher price, but if you own a jewelry store, for instance, then it makes sense to properly secure the heart of your business.

You’ll also need to think about what type of lock is best ~ combination dial, redundant, electronic, biometric, etc. Undoubtedly, there are a great number of factors to consider before buying a commercial safe. Once you choose, where you opt to put your safe is also an important decision. To avoid being fooled by misleading information, do your homework first, checking only with trustworthy and reputable sources.