- Decide on the type of safe design
- Types of locks used in safes
- Choosing the location of the safe
- Safe dimensions and internal division
In almost every home there is valuable property that may be of interest to thieves. First of all, we are talking about cash, jewelry, some important documents, family heirlooms. A safe will help keep them safe. If you have already decided to purchase a durable and reliable metal cabinet to hide your valuables, then it’s time to think about its design and installation location.
Today we will talk about which safe for your home to choose. This question is not idle. Having paid insufficient attention to it, you can end up buying a safe that will not bring you peace of mind and confidence in the future, since it will not be able to become a serious obstacle to an intruder.
Decide on the type of safe design
What dangers can threaten the valuables stored in your home? First, they can simply be kidnapped. Secondly, they can die in a fire, from which none of us, alas, is immune. (Of course, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, etc. can be added to this list, but the probability of all these emergencies is incomparably lower.)
Safes can protect your documents, money, jewelry from both. But… you will have to choose what to fear more, because most safes are not able to equally reliably protect against both fire and burglary. A fire-resistant safe will not stop a professional safecracker, and a burglary-resistant safe will not save you from fire.
According to statistics, in the vast majority of cases, the danger to the valuables stored in the house comes from fire, and not from intruders who illegally entered your home. Nevertheless, fire-resistant safes are still purchased less often than burglary-resistant ones – as a rule, only when it comes to storing some personal documents, photographs, family heirlooms that are very expensive for you, but not of particular value to thieves .
A fireproof safe is designed for long-term protection of things stored in it from exposure to temperatures of several hundred degrees. This is achieved by filling the space between the inner and outer walls of the safe with refractory foam concrete, which has a finely porous structure and, as a result, low thermal conductivity. To ensure the fire-resistant properties of the door, a so-called thermal lock and / or thermal insulating gaskets that expand when heated are used.
The average fireproof safe provides protection of its contents from fire within 30-60 minutes. This, as a rule, is enough to put out the flames with the help of the called firefighters. Some more expensive models are able to resist heat for 120 and sometimes even 240 minutes. In general, all safes are divided into 6 classes according to their fire resistance. The criteria on the basis of which a metal box is assigned to one or another class are the time of permissible thermal exposure and the maximum temperature inside the safe when the external one rises to 1100 ° C.
The maximum temperature inside the safe during a fire determines the type of storage objects. So, for example, safes that maintain the temperature up to 170 °C are designed to store paper documents, and in the so-called data-safes, which guarantee that the temperature inside does not rise above 50 °C, you can store magnetic storage media (flash devices, CDs, DVDs, etc.).
Do not forget that fire-resistant safes only protect against flames and are not able to stop a burglar. They are not even attached to the wall or floor, as burglar-resistant, as this can adversely affect the ability to withstand elevated temperatures. It follows from this that such safes should be hidden as far as possible from prying eyes.
The main characteristic of burglary-resistant safes is their resistance to burglary, which is established on the basis of test results. Good burglary resistance can be guaranteed by heavy high-strength concrete, which fills the space between the outer and inner walls of the safe (sometimes concrete is additionally reinforced with metal, granite chips or corundum). It is thanks to this “stuffing” that burglary-resistant safes turn out to be significantly heavier than fire-resistant ones.
In accordance with the resistance of safes to burglary established empirically, they are all divided into several classes:
1. H0 class safes are relatively simple metal boxes with a wall thickness of up to 5 mm, they are designed to be protected more from dishonest guests or employees than from burglars.
2. Safes I-II class usually used to store documents at home, relatively small amounts of money and weapons.
3. Safes III class protection is acquired by those who are going to store large sums of money and especially expensive jewelry at home.
4. Safes corresponding to IV-VII classes burglary resistance, they are classified as professional, they are designed to ensure the safety of money, jewelry and documentation in bank premises, but are practically not used by private individuals.
Of course, if we are talking about a burglary-resistant safe, you should not forget about the need to equip it with a high-quality lock, otherwise the super-strong walls and the door will be worthless. We also note that the best option for ensuring the safety of your valuables involves an integrated approach: it is not enough just to equip a reliable storage, you also need to connect the house to a console security system.
In 10-15 minutes after the sensors are triggered, a police squad will arrive at the scene, which reduces to zero the chances of criminals to profit. If the intruder who entered your home has enough time, he, with the appropriate skills, will sooner or later be able to cope with any, even the most reliable safe.
A little higher, we argued that all safes have their own narrow specialization. But, as you know, there are exceptions to every rule. In this case, the exception is the category of universal safes that can perform both functions. Fire-resistant models that will help keep property higher during robbery and fire are rare and quite expensive. In addition, they usually provide the minimum acceptable level of protection, corresponding to the lower classes in terms of both fire and burglary resistance.
A variety of fire-resistant safes are models made according to the “two in one” principle: a burglary-resistant storage is placed inside the fire-resistant box. These safes do both jobs better, but not everyone can afford them.
Types of locks used in safes
The burglary resistance of a safe is determined primarily not by the thickness of its “armor”, but by the reliability of the lock installed on it. Today, safes are equipped with three types of locks: key, code (which, in turn, can be mechanical or electronic) and biometric.
It should not be thought that in this age of digital technology, key locks are preparing for a well-deserved retirement. No, they are still used more than any other. Cylindrical locks are extremely rarely installed on safes – preference is given to lever locks, which are more resistant to the use of master keys and force breaking. To increase the reliability of safes, they are sometimes equipped with two locks, the keys to which are strongly recommended to be hidden in different places.
An electronic chip placed on the key itself can become an additional security element. The locking device, not recognizing the chip, will be blocked. Such a system allows you to protect against the use of duplicate keys made from a cast.
Mechanical combination lock
Combination mechanical locks, often referred to as limb locks, are strongly associated in the minds of most of us with safes. Such constipation involves the introduction of a code combination of numbers, for which there is a rotating knob on the outside of the door with a scale from 0 to 99. Trying to guess the code by simple enumeration is pointless – given the number of possible combinations, this will take months, or even years. The security of a combination lock depends to a large extent on the owner’s ability to keep the code secret.
Electronic code lock
Electronic combination locks have a number of significant advantages over mechanical ones. Electronics is more flexible in operation. Such a lock can be programmed to the mode that best suits your security needs. If desired or necessary, you can easily change the code (in the case of many mechanical combination locks, this operation is impossible in principle).
In addition, the electronic mechanism has a combination protection function. However, it should be borne in mind that electronics fail more often than mechanics, in the case of safes this can be fraught with trouble.
The biometric device identifies the owner of the safe by some unique individual parameters. This can be, for example, fingerprints or a retinal view. Such safe locks are much more expensive than classic ones. Before choosing a safe with a biometric lock for your home, consider whether the cost of storage will exceed the value of its contents. It hardly makes sense to chase this safe fashion trend, because traditional constipation does the job just as well.
In conclusion, we will give you some tips regarding the choice of a lock system for your home safe:
When choosing one or another type of locking system, you should focus on the frequency of use of the safe. If you are going to be opening and closing your vault quite often, we advise you to give preference to a key lock: it is more convenient and will last longer. If you will not use the safe too actively, you should choose a combination lock.
The best possible option is a safe equipped with two locks of different types, for example, a key lock and a combination lock.
We recommend that you choose less common models of safes, since many burglars have master keys for specific types of popular locks installed on mass-produced products.
Choosing the location of the safe
There is no safe that cannot be opened. The success of the enterprise depends on the quality of the storage itself, the skill level of the attacker and the time that he will be given to work. By safely hiding the safe from prying eyes, you thereby increase the time required to commit the theft, which means that the likelihood will increase that the thief will abandon his idea or be caught at the crime scene by a police squad arriving at the signal. According to the method of placement, all safes are divided into several types.
Built-in safes in terms of the time required to search for them are the most ideal. It is easy to disguise them with furniture, interior elements, decorative panels used in interior decoration. In addition, the wall, due to its mass, significantly increases the burglary and fire resistance of the storage.
However, such a safe can only be installed in a house with walls made of bricks or aerated concrete blocks. However, you can mount a metal box not only in the wall, but also in the floor, but only if the room is located on the ground floor of the building. In both cases, it is necessary (or at least very desirable) to make a niche at the construction stage.
Free standing safes
Freestanding safes are classic home storage for documents, money, jewelry and other valuables. The vast majority of home safes fall into this category. Such boxes are purchased in cases where it is impossible to build a safe into the wall for some reason.
To increase the reliability of the storage, it should be attached to the wall, having previously mounted a powerful metal frame, or to a reinforced concrete platform on the floor. Just as with built-in safes, every effort should be made to ensure that a free-standing structure is not conspicuous when entering a room.
Furniture safes are relatively lightweight structures placed inside cabinets or cabinets. It is difficult to call them reliable repositories. Firstly, it is basically impossible to install a thick-walled and, therefore, rather heavy safe inside the furniture, which means that all of them have a low burglary resistance class. Secondly, such a hiding place will be discovered instantly by an intruder, since thieves in most cases begin their search for valuables from cabinets, cabinets and chests of drawers.
Portable safes are essentially diplomats with reinforced metal walls and locks. They are used to transport documents and relatively small amounts of money. Of course, safes with such a low weight cannot have good protective properties – it will not be difficult for a criminal to steal such a cashbox in its entirety. To increase reliability, such products are often equipped with additional radio beacons. One of the types of portable safes is a car box.
Safe dimensions and internal division
Sizes of safes can vary over a fairly wide range, but for home use, a compact model will be enough. In order not to be mistaken with the dimensions of the purchased product, you should decide in advance on the number and type of property to be saved. So, for example, if only money is supposed to be stored in the safe, then its internal dimensions can be only a little more than a couple of bundles of banknotes, while the document storage must certainly accommodate A4 paper.
But even if the size of the valuables to be stored is more than modest, you should not buy an overly small safe, otherwise it will be inconvenient to use it.
Experts recommend that instead of one large safe, purchase several smaller ones. An attacker, having discovered one of the safes, is unlikely to continue the search. But even if he manages to figure out the location of all the vaults, picking a few locks is a time-consuming activity, and this is not in the interests of the thief.
In most cases, safes are equipped with shelves, compartments and cells for convenient placement of things stored there. The organization of the interior space of the safe depends primarily on its internal dimensions. Owners of the smallest models have to be content with one compartment.