Home Fire/Burglar Safe

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karpems
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Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by karpems » Thu May 10, 2018 6:26 am

We are going to be purchasing a small to medium sized home fire/burglar safe. Anyone have any brand suggestions? Not looking for the "cheapest". I already have planned to bolt it to our slab.

Thanks!

BagelEater
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by BagelEater » Thu May 10, 2018 8:09 am

My only advice is buy twice as big as you think you need.

I have a gun safe that I use for guns, passport, SS card etc.

Would like to have a bigger one as I often think “it would be nice to lock that up”. I have some nice binoculars etc.

I have never really looked at residential “regular” safes but you may just buy a gun safe and build shelves in it?

My safe is minimally fireproof. My goal was to keep young kids(at the time) and casual smash and grab burglars out.

jebmke
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by jebmke » Thu May 10, 2018 9:01 am

BagelEater wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 8:09 am
My safe is minimally fireproof. My goal was to keep young kids(at the time) and casual smash and grab burglars out.
Two relevant anecdotes.

A friend of mine came home from a vacation to find his house burned to the ground. When he opened the fireproof safe he found the ashes of paper documents and melted metal jewelry (basically a giant mixed metal disk with stones embedded). When a house fire really gets going, a fireproof safe is not reliable.

When my FIL passed away several years ago we hired an auction company to clear out the house. One of the items in the house was a safe bolted into the slab. We didn't have the combination (and based on conversations with him, the safe was empty). It took the auction company less than 30 minutes to get the safe detached from the floor and out the door.

In short, I think your objectives are pragmatic.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

mbasherp
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by mbasherp » Thu May 10, 2018 10:19 am

I purchased a Mesa brand safe that was sized appropriately for my needs and I'm pleased. It is easily ahead of Sentry, etc, big box store offerings, but certainly still falls short of a true fireproof/burglar proof safe which would run into the thousands. I have practical expectations of it's protection. Sentry safes are easily cracked by first time amateurs who took 2 minutes to research on Youtube. Mesa is a notch better.

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Vulcan
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by Vulcan » Thu May 10, 2018 10:25 am

jebmke wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 9:01 am
BagelEater wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 8:09 am
My safe is minimally fireproof. My goal was to keep young kids(at the time) and casual smash and grab burglars out.
Two relevant anecdotes.

A friend of mine came home from a vacation to find his house burned to the ground. When he opened the fireproof safe he found the ashes of paper documents and melted metal jewelry (basically a giant mixed metal disk with stones embedded). When a house fire really gets going, a fireproof safe is not reliable.

When my FIL passed away several years ago we hired an auction company to clear out the house. One of the items in the house was a safe bolted into the slab. We didn't have the combination (and based on conversations with him, the safe was empty). It took the auction company less than 30 minutes to get the safe detached from the floor and out the door.
A moderately sized safe deposit box at a nearby B&M bank will cost no more than $50/year and will not be subject to risk from fires or motivated burglars. That is where we keep things that are difficult or impossible to replace (important documents, offsite data backups, etc).

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Sandtrap
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by Sandtrap » Thu May 10, 2018 10:25 am

Last year, a neighbor's luxury home burned to the ground from a lighting strike.
He had 3 very large high-end (pricey) gun safes. 2 of the safes did not survive the intense and prolonged fire. 1 safe survived but not all of the contents.
Prioritize one's concerns and odds of whether a fire or burglary is more likely. Then buy appropriately.
j

forgeblast
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by forgeblast » Thu May 10, 2018 10:49 am

Stack on makes a nice safe.

rg422
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by rg422 » Thu May 10, 2018 11:55 am

I recently purchased a Liberty safe (USA model) and I'm happy with it and would recommend it. Great value for the money.

golfCaddy
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by golfCaddy » Thu May 10, 2018 3:17 pm

Don't focus on brands. Look at the UL rating. The minimum rating on a safe meant to withstand 15 minutes of attack from power tools would be TL-15x6.

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Ice-9
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by Ice-9 » Thu May 10, 2018 3:28 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 10:25 am
A moderately sized safe deposit box at a nearby B&M bank will cost no more than $50/year and will not be subject to risk from fires or motivated burglars. That is where we keep things that are difficult or impossible to replace (important documents, offsite data backups, etc).
A couple years ago, I bought a small safe for the time being and got on a wait list at Capital One bank for a safe deposit box. They told me the wait list estimated as likely at least a year or two and they only reviewed and invited a couple customers to replace boxes about every six months or so, which I read as not to hold my breath.

I called the bank a couple weeks ago, almost two years to the day, to check up on the wait list status. I was told that Capital One is no longer offering boxes to new customers and is trying to gradually stop offering them altogether.

I'm curious if this is a trend with brick and mortar banks - anybody know of any banks that ARE currently offering safe deposit boxes to new customers? I realize people disagree on the safe vs box issue, but I would strongly prefer a box if they aren't going the way of the dinosaur.

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Vulcan
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by Vulcan » Thu May 10, 2018 3:40 pm

Ice-9 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 3:28 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 10:25 am
A moderately sized safe deposit box at a nearby B&M bank will cost no more than $50/year and will not be subject to risk from fires or motivated burglars. That is where we keep things that are difficult or impossible to replace (important documents, offsite data backups, etc).
A couple years ago, I bought a small safe for the time being and got on a wait list at Capital One bank for a safe deposit box. They told me the wait list estimated as likely at least a year or two and they only reviewed and invited a couple customers to replace boxes about every six months or so, which I read as not to hold my breath.

I called the bank a couple weeks ago, almost two years to the day, to check up on the wait list status. I was told that Capital One is no longer offering boxes to new customers and is trying to gradually stop offering them altogether.

I'm curious if this is a trend with brick and mortar banks - anybody know of any banks that ARE currently offering safe deposit boxes to new customers? I realize people disagree on the safe vs box issue, but I would strongly prefer a box if they aren't going the way of the dinosaur.
Ask another bank. And another. Until you find one nearby that has a box.

golfCaddy
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by golfCaddy » Thu May 10, 2018 3:46 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 10:25 am
A moderately sized safe deposit box at a nearby B&M bank will cost no more than $50/year and will not be subject to risk from fires or motivated burglars. That is where we keep things that are difficult or impossible to replace (important documents, offsite data backups, etc).
+1

karpems
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by karpems » Thu May 10, 2018 3:49 pm

Agreed. Just need something in the house for things we need short term.

Just curious, aren't banks at the same risk of fires as my house?

Loik098
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by Loik098 » Thu May 10, 2018 3:50 pm

Ice-9 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 3:28 pm

I'm curious if this is a trend with brick and mortar banks - anybody know of any banks that ARE currently offering safe deposit boxes to new customers? I realize people disagree on the safe vs box issue, but I would strongly prefer a box if they aren't going the way of the dinosaur.
In my city, we had to go to where the "big" branches were (with big safety deposit box areas) in order to find free space. Think at least two-story bank buildings. The small suburban-area branches around here are pretty much all full with long waiting lists.

I probably access our box 1-2 times per year, so the driving time (~30 minutes) isn't a big deal.
Last edited by Loik098 on Thu May 10, 2018 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Pajamas
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by Pajamas » Thu May 10, 2018 3:51 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 10:25 am

A moderately sized safe deposit box at a nearby B&M bank will cost no more than $50/year and will not be subject to risk from fires or motivated burglars. That is where we keep things that are difficult or impossible to replace (important documents, offsite data backups, etc).
Make sure the bank where you have a safe deposit box is not in a flood zone.

SrGrumpy
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by SrGrumpy » Thu May 10, 2018 3:57 pm

Wouldn't a hollowed-out book for smallish items cover the burglary risk?

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Vulcan
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by Vulcan » Thu May 10, 2018 4:02 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 3:51 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 10:25 am

A moderately sized safe deposit box at a nearby B&M bank will cost no more than $50/year and will not be subject to risk from fires or motivated burglars. That is where we keep things that are difficult or impossible to replace (important documents, offsite data backups, etc).
Make sure the bank where you have a safe deposit box is not in a flood zone.
My house would have to be fully submerged before water gets to the bank's front door. Neither is likely :-)

CurlyDave
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by CurlyDave » Fri May 11, 2018 2:09 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 10:25 am
Last year, a neighbor's luxury home burned to the ground from a lighting strike.
He had 3 very large high-end (pricey) gun safes. 2 of the safes did not survive the intense and prolonged fire. 1 safe survived but not all of the contents.
Prioritize one's concerns and odds of whether a fire or burglary is more likely. Then buy appropriately.
j
Safe location is as important as safe type and design.

Put the safe in the garage, where there will be a car or two (complete with gas tank) and it will be subject to prolonged, intense fire. Put the safe in an area with minimal combustibles and it will fare better.

If the safe is small enough, stack firebrick around it and cover the whole assembly with a cardboard box (cut the bottom out to allow easy access) and you have both concealment and extra fireproofing.

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Watty
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by Watty » Fri May 11, 2018 6:47 am

Be aware that many safes are not all that hard to open.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... fe+opening

The trick with the magnet really surprised me the first time I saw that.

One suggestion for safes is to have two safes. An obvious one with little of value in it and another well hidden one.

You also need to be aware that for fire resistance they way some safes work is that the walls of the safe contain a material that will emit a lot of water vapor to make the contents of the safe wet and prevent them from burning. This can be a problem with things like computer backups, artwork, and inkjet printed documents have water soluble ink.

It is also not impossible that someone could hold a gun to your head and demand that you open the safe. That could be a problem if that family member does not know the combination to the safe.

mx711yam
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by mx711yam » Fri May 11, 2018 9:41 am

Get a Ft. Knox or American Security. I don't even worry about my stuff anymore.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri May 11, 2018 10:30 am

karpems wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 3:49 pm
Agreed. Just need something in the house for things we need short term.

Just curious, aren't banks at the same risk of fires as my house?
The Bank's Vault has a much higher fire rating than most safe's you can buy for your house. Many of the "fire resistant" safe's for your home won't actually protect in the case of a real fire - they simply aren't rated to. There are lots of stories of house's burning down and safe's melting or surviving with the contents inside having had charred.

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Pajamas
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Re: Home Fire/Burglar Safe

Post by Pajamas » Fri May 11, 2018 11:02 am

karpems wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 3:49 pm
Agreed. Just need something in the house for things we need short term.

Just curious, aren't banks at the same risk of fires as my house?
No, because they are not dwellings and as commercial buildings, they should have higher standards for things like fire alarms and sprinkler systems and possibly more fire-resistant construction. For instance, you may have a fire and smoke detector in your house, but your system probably relies on batteries rather than being hardwired and with a back-up power source and is not capable of notifying the fire department. You almost certainly do not have an automatic sprinkler system or fire-resistant doors in your house. The construction of a bank vault that holds safety deposit boxes is also likely to be very fire-resistant.

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