Fires cause millions of dollars in damage every year to homes and businesses. On average, a home or office is affected by fire every 60 seconds. To protect valuable or sentimental belongings, many people turn to a fire resistant safe. Unfortunately, selecting and comparing options can be a complicated and overwhelming task. There are a few simple tips which make the buying process much easier.

The first thing to remember is that fireproof safes are designed to release moisture during a fire. It is the moisture which ensures the contents housed within the safe run at a temperature below their ignition point. Unfortunately, the additional moisture combined with smoke from the fire can cause as much damage as the heat. To prevent this potential problem, make sure the fireproof safe is airtight before buying it.

The second thing to put into consideration before buying a fireproof safe is what type of items will be stored within it. There are two primary types of fire safes on the market. The first is designed for protecting paper documents, and the second is designed for data storage, primarily computer or digital related media. Since paper and electronics have different ignition points, it is important to choose a safe that fits the items that will protect. If a computer is stored in a safe rated for paper, it will melt.

Always think about where the safe will be placed. The size and weight of a safe may affect where it can be safely stored. This applies in particular if it is not on the ground floor. Whenever possible, have an engineer do an inspection to ensure the building can support the additional localized load a safe creates.

When looking at fireproof safe ratings, it is important not to overlook how many hours of fire protection it can provide. Some safes can offer protection against extreme temperatures, but the protection may not last as long as required. Typically, fireproof safes are rated for one hour, two hours, or three hours. In most homes, a one-hour fire proof safe offers more than adequate protection.

Is fire the only threat? When buying a fire resistant safe, it is important to consider adding additional layers of security. For example, adding burglary or impact protection is often worthwhile because the extra cost is minimal. Anyone investing in a fireproof safe should take the additional steps necessary to ensure their safe passes burglary tests and impact tests as well.