Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

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Sandtrap
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Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Sandtrap »

DW and I have always wanted a safe.
We have also wanted a "panic room" ever since we saw that movie (can't remember). . .
But, for now, let's focus on the "safe".
I know absolutely nothing about these things. :confused

Requirements:
1
Water resistant or proof. We have lot's of documents to keep secure.
2
Somewhat theft proof and not able to be carried away (yes bolted to floor)
3
Fire proof. A must.
(Neighbor had a massive house fire. 3 high end safes. Only 1 survived the fire.)
4
Size.
Maybe 4-5 feet high, 2-3 feet deep, 2-3 feet wide?
Unsure. . . . suggestions? :confused
How heavy are these things?

Logistics:
1
We have a finished basement on concrete slab. It would be nice to have it there but there's no convenient way of getting a safe down there. Also, in case of flood or water leak, then the safe would be in a foot of water if that ever happens.
2
Garage?
That would be convenient to deliver and install, perhaps in a modified garden tool enclosure so "out of sight out of mind". But, it would not be convenient so DW would not use it as much.
3
Firearms size?
I don't have firearms, but if I did. . . .
Where I live, large or huge gun safes are very popular. Some folks I know have more than one.
For something this large, it would have to be in the garage or my shop building.

Price:
Not a consideration

Installation:
I guess this is something you buy and have installed by professionals. Correct?

QUESTIONS:
1
What brand, size, type (are there different types?), and why?
2
Where is the best location for something like this?
3
Is it better to have one huge/large size safe in the garage or shop, etc,. . .
or a couple or several smaller ones in the home?
4
How do you keep a "safe" . . . safe?
(seems like a redundant question. . . . double entendre. . . . ?
5
What have you done or how would you do this?
6
I've seen electronic locks on safes. Is this something that can go wrong?
7
What happens if you forget the combination or it gets "keyed" in wrong ?

Thanks everyone for you kind help and advice.
"safe" newbie.
Aloha
j :happy
Last edited by Sandtrap on Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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barnaclebob
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by barnaclebob »

The fire rating on most safes is achieved by having insulation that releases water when it is heated. That water may destroy your documents.

The best "safe" is a good hiding spot. There are plenty of good hiding spots in a house. Behind cabinet toe kicks is my favorite.
jacksonm
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by jacksonm »

I've never thought much of the idea of a home safe.

First off, if you don't hide it in a secret place where you think it won't be found then you are just advertising the presence of valuables in your home. And if you do have a place where you think it will never be found, then why do you need the safe?

One thing I have thought about however is a fake safe that's easy to carry and with lots of washers inside masquerading as fake coins and/or jewelry - the theory being that once a thief believes he's hit pay-dirt he'll take the fake safe and run.

If we have any home burglars on the forum they can advise me whether the latter is a good idea or not.
Buccaneer82
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Buccaneer82 »

American Security is a good safe brand. Definitely need to seal documents in waterproof containers incase of a fire as the lining will release water. Bolted to the slab of a master closet works nicely and is not too bad to do. The hardest part is moving the 1000+lbs of it to position without destroying floor and walls :) I was able to rent a 1500lb appliance dolly for that purpose but with 2 people it was not easy. We opted for tried and true combo lock with no electronics to fail or run out of power.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by prudent »

A safe that size is very, very heavy. Probably at least 700 pounds when empty. There are no fireproof safes - just fire-resistant. Might be able to protect documents for an hour in a fire. A safe can't guarantee anything but it is a deterrent (one person can't carry it off, need tools and a lot of time to remove or open it, etc.) I don't remember details but I have seen safes that size with keypad (electronic) locks but also have a place where you can use a key.
rene
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by rene »

Hell yes. In Nor*Cal with lots of fires these years around. We have a Sentry safe... for documents, passports etc. 1 hour fire proof. Stored in garage away from house to minimize potential fire time. 1.23 cf is plenty. The objective here is not to protect from thieves (though this helps) but to keep it safe in case of fire season going bad or potential flood. If you truly want to keep it safe from thieves as well you can bolt the damn thing to the foundation and you're set.

The safe I got was on special discount on Black Friday for about $120 with free shipping at Office Depot. Great deal it was. No regrets.

https://slickdeals.net/f/13512310-offic ... for-119-99
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Sandtrap »

barnaclebob wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:17 pm The fire rating on most safes is achieved by having insulation that releases water when it is heated. That water may destroy your documents.

The best "safe" is a good hiding spot. There are plenty of good hiding spots in a house. Behind cabinet toe kicks is my favorite.
I've read about that a lot. And, supposedly, the better safes do not use drywall or plaster in the innards and thus no moisture release.

j :happy
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Sandtrap »

rene wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:57 pm Hell yes. In Nor*Cal with lots of fires these years around. We have a Sentry safe... for documents, passports etc. 1 hour fire proof. Stored in garage away from house to minimize potential fire time. 1.23 cf is plenty. The objective here is not to protect from thieves (though this helps) but to keep it safe in case of fire season going bad or potential flood. If you truly want to keep it safe from thieves as well you can bolt the damn thing to the foundation and you're set.

The safe I got was on special discount on Black Friday for about $120 with free shipping at Office Depot. Great deal it was. No regrets.

https://slickdeals.net/f/13512310-offic ... for-119-99
A neighbor's "mini mac mansion" house fire sparked by a lighting strike through the attic, burned all night into the morning. Damage was total. The fire department had problems putting it out so let it burn at some point and protected the surrounding property. Of 3 very high end full size safes, only 1 survived.

So, 1 hour might be enough in the city with quick response times and fire hydrant access. Not so much in rural areas.

j :happy
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Opibus
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Opibus »

I came across this issue before and here's the solution I came up with.

I assumed that if the house was robbed, they could take my safe and eventually crack it open, so it wasn't meant for that purpose (these type of items go in the safe deposit box at bank), rather to keep visitors (housekeeper, snoopy relatives) from getting in to it.

Secondly, it had to be able to survive water or fire damage. I also wanted a safe that was decent size, greater than 1.5 cu ft. Finally I didn't want to spend more than $200 total.

Finding a safe that did all those things was nearly impossible with that price range, but what I did was bought a amazon basics safe and a few fire/water proof water document bags.

Safe: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078K2YPRW/
Bags: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BTKR55B/

I'm not sure if that's the best way to go, but for ~$150 it fits my needs. Technically I think just the bags alone are fine for me, since you can put a small combination lock to keep the zip from opening.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by ddurrett896 »

I like long guns safes for the size. Under 500-600lbs can go in the house, anything heavier is a pain and might require reinforced floor joists etc.

For documents and cash, I put them in a fire/waterproof bag then put that inside of a smaller keyed safe that goes into the long gun safe.
TLC1957
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by TLC1957 »

Why not just get a bank safe deposit box? Just make sure the box you get is not on the bottom rows in case they have a fire and the room fills with water. We actually had this happen our documents were not damaged since our was 5 rows up off the floor. We got a year of free rental for our troubles...lol
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Watty »

Sandtrap wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:07 pm What happens if you forget the combination or it gets "keyed" in wrong ?
You start a never ending thread here about how to open it.

viewtopic.php?t=295877

I hope that the person that started that thread gets back from their trip and gives an update soon.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Hockey10 »

Have you considered a safe deposit box at a local bank? Seems like a lot less trouble, unless you have the need to constantly refer to your important documents. If my house burns down and everything is lost, at least I can still access the items stored at the bank.

A friend of mine has one roughly the size you are talking about. He has enough weapons inside to outfit an infantry squad. Something that size would hold a ton of documents.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

We have a safe deposit box at a credit union for important documents and some one ounce gold coins. Plenty of room for more gold coins than I will ever buy. And I am converting my paper I-bonds to electronic holdings at Treasury Direct, so they won't be in the safe deposit box any longer.

But, the current safe deposit box is too small for all my silver coins, so I probably need another safe deposit box just for silver coins. Most are proof coins, but I do have some silver rounds. The proof coins are in the boxes the mint provided, and they are bulky. The silver rounds are in tubes of 20, very compact.

Perhaps a home safe would be ideal. I have no long guns, so we really don't need a large home safe at all, just one large enough to discourage thieves from taking the safe from the home.

So I am interested in the info in this thread.

Broken Man 1999
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GmanJeff
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by GmanJeff »

Most residential safes provide limited levels of protection against theft and fire. Increasing price usually corresponds to increased weight, theft and fire resistance. UL provides ratings for fire and burglar resistance, but many brands of residential safes are unrated. You may want to Google safe manufacturers to review their offerings and to check for dealers in your local area. Any safe with meaningful protective qualities will need to be professionally delivered due to weight.

AMSEC and Liberty are two popular brands, and represent a step up from what can usually be found at membership club warehouses and large sporting goods chains.

Many safe manufacturers also produce full-size vault doors which can be fitted to locations like basement storage rooms in lieu of a conventional safe. Such doors can be useful if the room's walls are concrete block or are otherwise relatively impenetrable, and represent a way to have a large secure space. You could place a UL-rated fire safe within such a room to protect documents from fire.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by 4ransom »

I think most safes home owners buy just shows the thief where youave your good stuff and if they are competent -it is gone. I keep low value bait in a cheap safe, my main wad I keep in a fool proof hiding place. I would tell but as they say then I would have to shoot you.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Sandtrap »

GmanJeff wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:15 pm Most residential safes provide limited levels of protection against theft and fire. Increasing price usually corresponds to increased weight, theft and fire resistance. UL provides ratings for fire and burglar resistance, but many brands of residential safes are unrated. You may want to Google safe manufacturers to review their offerings and to check for dealers in your local area. Any safe with meaningful protective qualities will need to be professionally delivered due to weight.

AMSEC and Liberty are two popular brands, and represent a step up from what can usually be found at membership club warehouses and large sporting goods chains.

Many safe manufacturers also produce full-size vault doors which can be fitted to locations like basement storage rooms in lieu of a conventional safe. Such doors can be useful if the room's walls are concrete block or are otherwise relatively impenetrable, and represent a way to have a large secure space. You could place a UL-rated fire safe within such a room to protect documents from fire.
Now "this" would be a very very cool way to go about things. Wow!!!

Thanks for posting.
j :happy
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Puretaxableindexer
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Puretaxableindexer »

I have a few SentrySafe fire safes. One is a very large one, a medium and a small one. I even cover them up using a fireproof blanket(to hide). In addition, I have special docs in a fireproof envelope and stored in a fire-safe with a fire blanket over it. After reading what I just wrote, I must be paranoid. Oh well, better to be safe than sorry.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Kenkat »

A safe is meant to buy you time. The time it takes for a burglar to break in to it, the time it takes a fire to destroy the contents, etc. No home safe will protect your valuables for an unlimited amount of time. Most home robberies are relatively inexperienced crooks who are looking for a quick in and out, grabbing cash or small easy to sell items like jewelry or small electronics. A basic big box store safe, somewhat hidden and bolted down, will keep this type of criminal out. For a more sophisticated thief, these kinds of safes are easy to defeat in a couple of minutes or even less. The better safes will have a TL rating in minutes - how many minutes the safe can withstand an attack by a determined thief with the proper tools. TL-15 is good, TL-30 is better but you pay quite a bit more for these. There are some fun videos on YouTube of people breaking into all kinds of safes - both the easy ones and the hard ones.

Fire ratings are similar; big box store safes might provide an hour of protection against a routine fire; if you want something to protect against a major house fire that destroys the house completely or even worse a California wildfire scenario, you would need something with a much higher fire rating.

So it all comes down to your budget and how long and what types of events you are trying to protect against.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Sandtrap »

Kenkat wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:53 pm A safe is meant to buy you time. The time it takes for a burglar to break in to it, the time it takes a fire to destroy the contents, etc. No home safe will protect your valuables for an unlimited amount of time. Most home robberies are relatively inexperienced crooks who are looking for a quick in and out, grabbing cash or small easy to sell items like jewelry or small electronics. A basic big box store safe, somewhat hidden and bolted down, will keep this type of criminal out. For a more sophisticated thief, these kinds of safes are easy to defeat in a couple of minutes or even less. The better safes will have a TL rating in minutes - how many minutes the safe can withstand an attack by a determined thief with the proper tools. TL-15 is good, TL-30 is better but you pay quite a bit more for these. There are some fun videos on YouTube of people breaking into all kinds of safes - both the easy ones and the hard ones.

Fire ratings are similar; big box store safes might provide an hour of protection against a routine fire; if you want something to protect against a major house fire that destroys the house completely or even worse a California wildfire scenario, you would need something with a much higher fire rating.

So it all comes down to your budget and how long and what types of events you are trying to protect against.
Wow!!
I did not know this.

Thanks for posting this.
j :happy
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Triple digit golfer
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Triple digit golfer »

I have been thinking a lot about security from thieves and hackers as well as how to secure important documents like wills, etc.

I have some paper copies of things that should probably be in a safe. Birth certificates, passports, Social Security cards, wills, parents' wills, maybe car titles, etc. However, most of my documents are electronic and therefore stored on a thumb drive and should also probably be in a safe.

I'm a bit overwhelmed with what I should be keeping, how long I should be keeping, and how and where to store it.

For example, do you save bank and brokerage/investment statements each month? I can't remember the last time I even looked at one. In fact, I can't even picture what a Vanguard statement looks like and I've been with them for 12 years.

How about written or digital copies of logins and passwords? Piece of paper in a safe? Or better to hide it somewhere a thief is unlikely to look? Toilet tank, under a floorboard, etc.

I have a big Excel file with all logins, passwords, security questions, account numbers, etc saved on a thumb drive. Where should I keep that drive?

I think the answer is if primary concern is protection against theft, a safety deposit box would be best. Next would be a good hiding spot in the house. Last would be a safe. However, if you need to access it often, safety deposit box would be annoying. If primary concern is fire or water protection, then safety deposit box or a good safe are the options.

So scattered about how to organize and store important documents and information!
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by 7eight9 »

Kenkat wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:53 pm A safe is meant to buy you time. The time it takes for a burglar to break in to it, the time it takes a fire to destroy the contents, etc. No home safe will protect your valuables for an unlimited amount of time. Most home robberies are relatively inexperienced crooks who are looking for a quick in and out, grabbing cash or small easy to sell items like jewelry or small electronics. A basic big box store safe, somewhat hidden and bolted down, will keep this type of criminal out. For a more sophisticated thief, these kinds of safes are easy to defeat in a couple of minutes or even less. The better safes will have a TL rating in minutes - how many minutes the safe can withstand an attack by a determined thief with the proper tools. TL-15 is good, TL-30 is better but you pay quite a bit more for these. There are some fun videos on YouTube of people breaking into all kinds of safes - both the easy ones and the hard ones.

Fire ratings are similar; big box store safes might provide an hour of protection against a routine fire; if you want something to protect against a major house fire that destroys the house completely or even worse a California wildfire scenario, you would need something with a much higher fire rating.

So it all comes down to your budget and how long and what types of events you are trying to protect against.
TL-60x6 is really good. And expensive.

https://www.empiresafe.com/product-cate ... -platinum/
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.
quantAndHold
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by quantAndHold »

That’s a very, very large and heavy home safe. I’ll ask the question...do you really need anything that large? Most documents are backed up online now, and the really important stuff should be in a bank safe deposit box or private vault anyway.

Regardless, go to an actual safe dealer. It’s an education. And let them install it. There’s no way you want to do that yourself.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Halicar »

Sandtrap wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:59 pm
Kenkat wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:53 pm A safe is meant to buy you time. The time it takes for a burglar to break in to it, the time it takes a fire to destroy the contents, etc. No home safe will protect your valuables for an unlimited amount of time. Most home robberies are relatively inexperienced crooks who are looking for a quick in and out, grabbing cash or small easy to sell items like jewelry or small electronics. A basic big box store safe, somewhat hidden and bolted down, will keep this type of criminal out. For a more sophisticated thief, these kinds of safes are easy to defeat in a couple of minutes or even less. The better safes will have a TL rating in minutes - how many minutes the safe can withstand an attack by a determined thief with the proper tools. TL-15 is good, TL-30 is better but you pay quite a bit more for these. There are some fun videos on YouTube of people breaking into all kinds of safes - both the easy ones and the hard ones.

Fire ratings are similar; big box store safes might provide an hour of protection against a routine fire; if you want something to protect against a major house fire that destroys the house completely or even worse a California wildfire scenario, you would need something with a much higher fire rating.

So it all comes down to your budget and how long and what types of events you are trying to protect against.
Wow!!
I did not know this.

Thanks for posting this.
j :happy
That TL rating is interesting, I suppose, but to me the real question is how long will the safe stay shut when someone points a gun at your loved one and tells you to open it. I'm guessing not long. I agree with those saying to get a safe deposit box at the bank.

Maybe I'm being paranoid, but it seems to me that having an extraordinarily secure safe is just advertising that there's something inside worth taking extreme measures to obtain.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Sandtrap »

Halicar wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:04 pm
Sandtrap wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:59 pm
Kenkat wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:53 pm A safe is meant to buy you time. The time it takes for a burglar to break in to it, the time it takes a fire to destroy the contents, etc. No home safe will protect your valuables for an unlimited amount of time. Most home robberies are relatively inexperienced crooks who are looking for a quick in and out, grabbing cash or small easy to sell items like jewelry or small electronics. A basic big box store safe, somewhat hidden and bolted down, will keep this type of criminal out. For a more sophisticated thief, these kinds of safes are easy to defeat in a couple of minutes or even less. The better safes will have a TL rating in minutes - how many minutes the safe can withstand an attack by a determined thief with the proper tools. TL-15 is good, TL-30 is better but you pay quite a bit more for these. There are some fun videos on YouTube of people breaking into all kinds of safes - both the easy ones and the hard ones.

Fire ratings are similar; big box store safes might provide an hour of protection against a routine fire; if you want something to protect against a major house fire that destroys the house completely or even worse a California wildfire scenario, you would need something with a much higher fire rating.

So it all comes down to your budget and how long and what types of events you are trying to protect against.
Wow!!
I did not know this.

Thanks for posting this.
j :happy
That TL rating is interesting, I suppose, but to me the real question is how long will the safe stay shut when someone points a gun at your loved one and tells you to open it. I'm guessing not long. I agree with those saying to get a safe deposit box at the bank.

Maybe I'm being paranoid, but it seems to me that having an extraordinarily secure safe is just advertising that there's something inside worth taking extreme measures to obtain.
After having witnessed my neighbors huge house go up in flames, and only 1 of 3 large safes surviving (he lost everything), my major concern is fire.
j :happy
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Sandtrap »

quantAndHold wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:11 pm That’s a very, very large and heavy home safe. I’ll ask the question...do you really need anything that large? Most documents are backed up online now, and the really important stuff should be in a bank safe deposit box or private vault anyway.

Regardless, go to an actual safe dealer. It’s an education. And let them install it. There’s no way you want to do that yourself.
Good idea.
Yes. I know quite a few folks in my area who have had them professionally delivered (forklift) and installed.

We have about 5 standard size office boxes that would have to go in it, a box of backup hard drives, bunch of small stuffs. . .
. . . .
an assortment of long and short and small firearms, gold bricks, bundled cash, . . . (kidding! :oops:

j :happy
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dukeblue219
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by dukeblue219 »

Sandtrap wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:29 pm
Halicar wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:04 pm
Sandtrap wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:59 pm
Kenkat wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:53 pm A safe is meant to buy you time. The time it takes for a burglar to break in to it, the time it takes a fire to destroy the contents, etc. No home safe will protect your valuables for an unlimited amount of time. Most home robberies are relatively inexperienced crooks who are looking for a quick in and out, grabbing cash or small easy to sell items like jewelry or small electronics. A basic big box store safe, somewhat hidden and bolted down, will keep this type of criminal out. For a more sophisticated thief, these kinds of safes are easy to defeat in a couple of minutes or even less. The better safes will have a TL rating in minutes - how many minutes the safe can withstand an attack by a determined thief with the proper tools. TL-15 is good, TL-30 is better but you pay quite a bit more for these. There are some fun videos on YouTube of people breaking into all kinds of safes - both the easy ones and the hard ones.

Fire ratings are similar; big box store safes might provide an hour of protection against a routine fire; if you want something to protect against a major house fire that destroys the house completely or even worse a California wildfire scenario, you would need something with a much higher fire rating.

So it all comes down to your budget and how long and what types of events you are trying to protect against.
Wow!!
I did not know this.

Thanks for posting this.
j :happy
That TL rating is interesting, I suppose, but to me the real question is how long will the safe stay shut when someone points a gun at your loved one and tells you to open it. I'm guessing not long. I agree with those saying to get a safe deposit box at the bank.

Maybe I'm being paranoid, but it seems to me that having an extraordinarily secure safe is just advertising that there's something inside worth taking extreme measures to obtain.
After having witnessed my neighbors huge house go up in flames, and only 1 of 3 large safes surviving (he lost everything), my major concern is fire.
j :happy
You've mentioned that a few times as your primary worry rather than theft. Are you sure you want a safe actually? I think you might want to consider spending those big bucks on fire safety. All new residential construction around here requires sprinkler systems, and Im guessing you can retrofit existing homes. A good sprinkler system combined with actively monitored smoke detectors might be your better angle here.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Puretaxableindexer wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:43 pm I have a few SentrySafe fire safes. One is a very large one, a medium and a small one. I even cover them up using a fireproof blanket(to hide). In addition, I have special docs in a fireproof envelope and stored in a fire-safe with a fire blanket over it. After reading what I just wrote, I must be paranoid. Oh well, better to be safe than sorry.
Now this is interesting...where do you purchase fireproof envelopes from? Ditto for a fireproof blanket? Fire safe?

As an aside, bank vault rooms are equipped with state of the art fire suppression systems in addition to a fire rated vault, with 2 foot thick steel doors - I was fortunate to have worked for a bank back in college, always fun to have set the internal locking mechanism clocks right though some of the time they were set for a half hour to an hour later - customers weren't too happy to have to wait around for their :moneybag .

Another thought for the OP is to put the safe in the floor with thick lexan plastic in the shape of a box and sealed at all corners with plumbers goop (strong sealant - nothing will break leak in or out of it). This would be a custom job as opposed to something out of a store.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Sandtrap »

dukeblue219 wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:57 pm . . . .
You've mentioned that a few times as your primary worry rather than theft. Are you sure you want a safe actually? I think you might want to consider spending those big bucks on fire safety. All new residential construction around here requires sprinkler systems, and Im guessing you can retrofit existing homes. A good sprinkler system combined with actively monitored smoke detectors might be your better angle here.
Finally finished addressing fire things over all aspects of my home lately. Went overkill on everything.
So. . . .
This is the next step to things. . . .

Also, theft security inside the perimeter of the home. . . thus. . . a big safe. . .

j :happy
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName »

Sandtrap wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:07 pm DW and I have always wanted a safe.
We have also wanted a "panic room" ever since we saw that movie (can't remember). . .
But, for now, let's focus on the "safe".
I know absolutely nothing about these things. :confused
What are you trying to protect?

And, what are you trying to protect those things from?

That will drive a lot of the answers to your questions.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Puretaxableindexer »

Grt2bOutdoors wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:59 pm
Puretaxableindexer wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:43 pm I have a few SentrySafe fire safes. One is a very large one, a medium and a small one. I even cover them up using a fireproof blanket(to hide). In addition, I have special docs in a fireproof envelope and stored in a fire-safe with a fire blanket over it. After reading what I just wrote, I must be paranoid. Oh well, better to be safe than sorry.
Now this is interesting...where do you purchase fireproof envelopes from? Ditto for a fireproof blanket? Fire safe?

You can buy a fireproof envelope ($15-$20) and a fire blanket from Amazon. I have a couple of the envelopes. They are waterproof and fire proof with Velcro or a zipper. The fire blanket I have is in a vinyl bag that was given to me long ago, it's meant to wrap around a person during a fire, but I use it for my fire safe.

As an aside, bank vault rooms are equipped with state of the art fire suppression systems in addition to a fire rated vault, with 2 foot thick steel doors - I was fortunate to have worked for a bank back in college, always fun to have set the internal locking mechanism clocks right though some of the time they were set for a half hour to an hour later - customers weren't too happy to have to wait around for their :moneybag .

Another thought for the OP is to put the safe in the floor with thick lexan plastic in the shape of a box and sealed at all corners with plumbers goop (strong sealant - nothing will break leak in or out of it). This would be a custom job as opposed to something out of a store.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Sandtrap »

Grt2bOutdoors wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:59 pm
Puretaxableindexer wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:43 pm I have a few SentrySafe fire safes. One is a very large one, a medium and a small one. I even cover them up using a fireproof blanket(to hide). In addition, I have special docs in a fireproof envelope and stored in a fire-safe with a fire blanket over it. After reading what I just wrote, I must be paranoid. Oh well, better to be safe than sorry.
Now this is interesting...where do you purchase fireproof envelopes from? Ditto for a fireproof blanket? Fire safe?

As an aside, bank vault rooms are equipped with state of the art fire suppression systems in addition to a fire rated vault, with 2 foot thick steel doors - I was fortunate to have worked for a bank back in college, always fun to have set the internal locking mechanism clocks right though some of the time they were set for a half hour to an hour later - customers weren't too happy to have to wait around for their :moneybag .

Another thought for the OP is to put the safe in the floor with thick lexan plastic in the shape of a box and sealed at all corners with plumbers goop (strong sealant - nothing will break leak in or out of it). This would be a custom job as opposed to something out of a store.
We have a variety of small safe boxes but need a big one to hold things.
About the size of a military wooden box large enough to hold something like 20-30 stinger missiles which are about 5' x 6" each. :confused
(This is what happens when DW and I are binging on "Homeland"). :oops:
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Sandtrap »

ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:04 pm
Sandtrap wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:07 pm DW and I have always wanted a safe.
We have also wanted a "panic room" ever since we saw that movie (can't remember). . .
But, for now, let's focus on the "safe".
I know absolutely nothing about these things. :confused
What are you trying to protect?

And, what are you trying to protect those things from?

That will drive a lot of the answers to your questions.
Protection from theft, fire, water.

Valuable documents (boxes of them), box of backup hard drives, a "few" long guns and pistols handed down from me from my great great grandfather, and more stuff.

j :happy
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Sandtrap wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:33 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:11 pm That’s a very, very large and heavy home safe. I’ll ask the question...do you really need anything that large? Most documents are backed up online now, and the really important stuff should be in a bank safe deposit box or private vault anyway.

Regardless, go to an actual safe dealer. It’s an education. And let them install it. There’s no way you want to do that yourself.
Good idea.
Yes. I know quite a few folks in my area who have had them professionally delivered (forklift) and installed.

We have about 5 standard size office boxes that would have to go in it, a box of backup hard drives, bunch of small stuffs. . .
. . . .
an assortment of long and short and small firearms, gold bricks, bundled cash, . . . (kidding! :oops:

j :happy
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Sandtrap »

Grt2bOutdoors wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:17 pm . . . .
Use this for your cash https://www.walmart.com/ip/Coffe-Can-lo ... gK9ZPD_BwE
Way too small.
Think. . . "Breaking Bad". . . . :confused

j :happy
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Sandtrap wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:18 pm
Grt2bOutdoors wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:17 pm . . . .
Use this for your cash https://www.walmart.com/ip/Coffe-Can-lo ... gK9ZPD_BwE
Way too small.
Think. . . "Breaking Bad". . . . :confused

j :happy
This ought to suit your needs: https://www.thevintagenews.com/2019/04/10/fort-knox/
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by mouth »

Protecting data from loss really is a "solved" problem. Paper or digital there is no substitute for copies; stored on another property, city, state, country, continent, planet ... okay maybe planet is over kill. Instead of trying to protect your single copy of something like it's the One Ring, make copies and don't stress about protecting any of them from loss knowing you've got a copy.

So for all those boxes of documents, if you're main purpose is to not lose them to fire/water then start making copies. You could make physical copies but I mean really, come on. Digital is of course your best bang for buck, size, and portability. You can buy a sheet feed scanner or pay a service. Just google "document scanning service". Many will even securely shred your stuff when done. For security, anything that's got info you don't want getting out, encrypt it.

As for locations, it's really up to you if a cloud backup solution is right, or a few hard drives stored in safe deposit box(es) is the right answer. If you're really paranoid about losing those documents get two boxes a fair distance apart or even mail one to a trusted family member or friend. Remember, it's encrypted so its safe. For easy access keep a drive at home; again encrypted if it needs to be secure. If you go cloud, and you're really paranoid about loss, use two providers, that operate servers on opposite coasts, continents, planets; sorry I did it again :) Again for security, the good ones de/encrypt on the local client and never have your key. But great googgly moggly don't lose it!!! Smart to have copies of the key too. Get the theme here on copies :)

Obviously the level of redundancy you employ is going to depend entirely on how badly you need to be sure you never lose these documents; also how long you can go without them while you recover them. Will your business lose a million dollars a second waiting for data recovery? Then you have some choices to make. But if you are fine waiting a few days to drive to the bank the next state over because they are closed on a federal holiday and your house burned down on Friday night; then you have different choices to make.

This should significantly shrink the volume of things you have to protect from loss and addresses your theft concern at least for your documents.

What's left??
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by bertilak »

mouth wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:47 pm What's left??
I recently created a will. The attorney who wrote it up said I MUST keep the original, signed, notarized, physical, will safe and available and NOT in a bank's safe deposit box. I of course have electronic copies, both locally and in the cloud (Microsoft One Drive) but am still trying to decide how to manage the original, physical, copy. At first blush, a high-quality fire safe seems like the answer but there are so many possibilities and so many problems documented.

P.S. I was told a bank safe deposit box is not an absolute no-no, just a major inconvenience.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by forgeblast »

Sandtrap wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:07 pm DW and I have always wanted a safe.
We have also wanted a "panic room" ever since we saw that movie (can't remember). . .
But, for now, let's focus on the "safe".
I know absolutely nothing about these things. :confused

Requirements:
1
Water resistant or proof. We have lot's of documents to keep secure.
2
Somewhat theft proof and not able to be carried away (yes bolted to floor)
3
Fire proof. A must.
(Neighbor had a massive house fire. 3 high end safes. Only 1 survived the fire.)
4
Size.
Maybe 4-5 feet high, 2-3 feet deep, 2-3 feet wide?
Unsure. . . . suggestions? :confused
How heavy are these things?

Logistics:
1
We have a finished basement on concrete slab. It would be nice to have it there but there's no convenient way of getting a safe down there. Also, in case of flood or water leak, then the safe would be in a foot of water if that ever happens.
2
Garage?
That would be convenient to deliver and install, perhaps in a modified garden tool enclosure so "out of sight out of mind". But, it would not be convenient so DW would not use it as much.
3
Firearms size?
I don't have firearms, but if I did. . . .
Where I live, large or huge gun safes are very popular. Some folks I know have more than one.
For something this large, it would have to be in the garage or my shop building.

Price:
Not a consideration

Installation:
I guess this is something you buy and have installed by professionals. Correct?

QUESTIONS:
1
What brand, size, type (are there different types?), and why?
2
Where is the best location for something like this?
3
Is it better to have one huge/large size safe in the garage or shop, etc,. . .
or a couple or several smaller ones in the home?
4
How do you keep a "safe" . . . safe?
(seems like a redundant question. . . . double entendre. . . . ?
5
What have you done or how would you do this?
6
I've seen electronic locks on safes. Is this something that can go wrong?
7
What happens if you forget the combination or it gets "keyed" in wrong ?

Thanks everyone for you kind help and advice.
"safe" newbie.
Aloha
j :happy
Look at gun safes. https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p/st ... fns5169gua is a big safe, they have them half this size. But they are fire and water safe, safes :) I like stack on safes, We have one. I used to sell them at Dicks Sporting Goods and the stack on held up to everyone and their kid messing with them. There are delivery companies that will deliver them, cost more to go up a flight of stairs. With the big safe like this or even the half ones concrete floor is a must or extra support under them if on floor joists. Also you want to bolt them to the floor so they do not float if there is a lot of water.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Damocles »

The USG requires classified documents be stored in an approved security container (i.e. a safe). These are heavy, well-constructed, and for a Class 5 safe, offer 10-man minutes rating against forced entry. Think about that. Against a determined and prepared attacker, 10 minutes is about all you can get from a beefy, serious, whole-of-government approved classified safe. That said, others have already pointed out that most intruders don't come prepared to deal with a security container. They want easy loot, fast. Don't give it to them.

https://hamiltonproductsgroup.com/products/class-5/
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by db79 »

I have a Liberty safe w/90 minute fire protection certification and important documents are kept inside using fire resistant pockets for added protection against heat.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Buy an old bank. What?

My parents bought a building years ago on the green in the center of town. It started life as a bank and had a safe on the 2nd floor (and 2 foot thick stone walls). The door was 18 inches thick and they did, indeed have the combination. The first floor of the building became their business office and second floor was converted to an apartment. They stored wine in the safe.

My mom sold the building a few years after my dad passed. The bank, 2 doors down recently sold. I wonder if someone will make use of their safe.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Ramjet »

Is reducing the size of the safe you need appealing to you? A smaller safe would allow for do-it-yourself installation, less cost, less space taken up, more flexibility on where you can put it. If so, consider scanning your documents, encrypting them, and storing them via the cloud. I used PCloud for this and I have a small safe I've installed in our bedroom closet
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by SmileyFace »

I have opted to stay with a bank safety deposit box.
In addition to having a few documents stored there (car titles, etc.) I also drop off ALL my lifelong photos and files via a Hard-Drive about every 6 months.
I've heard too many stories about safes not exactly being safe including:
1) Not really water proof
2) Fire resistant rather than fireproof
3) There was a story here whereby someone said their safe - which was far too heavy to be carried - was simply unbolted and dragged across all hardwood floors through the house - in addition to losing the safe - flooring needed to be replaced.

I am sure all the above can be overcome for the right amount of money - but it seems stopping by the bank once in a while is an easier solution to me.
I'd be curious to know what the "Lot's of documents that need to be secure" are. I have very few on paper these days.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by SmileyFace »

bertilak wrote: Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:22 am
mouth wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:47 pm What's left??
I recently created a will. The attorney who wrote it up said I MUST keep the original, signed, notarized, physical, will safe and available and NOT in a bank's safe deposit box. I of course have electronic copies, both locally and in the cloud (Microsoft One Drive) but am still trying to decide how to manage the original, physical, copy. At first blush, a high-quality fire safe seems like the answer but there are so many possibilities and so many problems documented.

P.S. I was told a bank safe deposit box is not an absolute no-no, just a major inconvenience.
I don't consider a Will something that is susceptible to theft (except in weird family dispute corner cases maybe) so simply keep it in a place where family knows where it is. In the unlikely case it is stolen I suppose you need to pay the lawyer a few dollars to create a new original. I know in some cases the law office actually holds the original. You are right - a safety deposit box is not a good place to store it since no one will be able to get to it in the case of your demise. (The Will is needed to see who will be able to gain access to the box :) ).
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by bertilak »

DaftInvestor wrote: Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:04 pm I don't consider a Will something that is susceptible to theft ...
I am not worried about theft, but fire, flood, etc., while maintaining ease of access.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by Hockey10 »

bertilak wrote: Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:22 am
mouth wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:47 pm What's left??
I recently created a will. The attorney who wrote it up said I MUST keep the original, signed, notarized, physical, will safe and available and NOT in a bank's safe deposit box. I of course have electronic copies, both locally and in the cloud (Microsoft One Drive) but am still trying to decide how to manage the original, physical, copy. At first blush, a high-quality fire safe seems like the answer but there are so many possibilities and so many problems documented.

P.S. I was told a bank safe deposit box is not an absolute no-no, just a major inconvenience.
Our original will is stored in the safe deposit box. My wife and adult son are permitted to access the box along with me. As long as the 3 of us don't die at the same time, one of us will be able to get the will.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by LFS1234 »

Sandtrap wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:07 pm
Requirements:
1
Water resistant or proof. We have lot's of documents to keep secure.
2
Somewhat theft proof and not able to be carried away (yes bolted to floor)
3
Fire proof. A must.
(Neighbor had a massive house fire. 3 high end safes. Only 1 survived the fire.)
4
Size.
Maybe 4-5 feet high, 2-3 feet deep, 2-3 feet wide?
Unsure. . . . suggestions? :confused
How heavy are these things?

I was involved with the installation of a TL-30x6 fire-resistant safe, size about 5' x 2' x 2'. It weighed over 3,200 pounds. Cost including installation was somewhere in the upper four figures. A structural engineer was consulted to ensure that the concrete slab was sufficient to support it (it was).

My input:

- stick with a TL rated fire-resistant safe. Fire-resistance will probably make its walls about 4" thick and make it extremely heavy. No normal burglar will be able to move it; no normal burglar will be able to open it. The moving and installation of these safes requires a combination of specialized equipment and 4 - 6 very, very strong individuals.

- beware of comparing apples to oranges in fire resistance ratings. Not every manufacturer uses the same temperatures, so one "2-hour rating" may not be comparable to another.

- it is possible to get dual locks - a traditional combination lock (consider getting one with 4 numbers rather than 3) and a modern digital lock. The digital locks are quick to open but more prone to failure. The combination locks are tried and true and should last forever, but it takes a while to operate them - fine if you only access your safe once per month, not so fine if you would like to access it multiple times per day.

- safes can be ordered in custom sizes and configurations.

- as has been pointed out, a good safe buys you time: thanks to burglar alarms, police departments and fire departments, most burglars don't have the luxury of spending several hours trying to open a safe; and most fires aren't able to burn for several hours.

- if you can, conceal the safe and keep its existence to yourself.

If you have a lot of tangible valuables such as jewelry, cash or drugs, of if others have reason to suspect that you are in such a category (eg. you are a jeweler by profession), you might be targeted by specialized burglars with a higher-than-usual level of competence. If you are just concerned about random opportunistic burglars, a TL-rated safe combined with a monitored burglar alarm should give you all the protection you need.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by SpinPsycholer »

I will never use a bank safe deposit box again. An employee of mine from India lost all of his wife's jewelry by their safe deposit box being broken into. The were family heirloom's that are irreplaceable. The bank accepts no responsibility. Apparently there are no regulations on them and the contracts keep the banks protected from liability. Read this: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/19/busi ... theft.html

I would rather have my own safe and be in control and responsible for my things which I do.
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Re: Should I get a safe? What kind? What would you do? How safe is a "safe"?

Post by TierArtz »

I'm a fan of Liberty Safe: https://www.libertysafe.com/. They are primarily known for their gun safes (up to 50 cubic feet), but they do make residential storage safes (up to 17 cubic feet). If needed, a large gun safe can be adapted to share space with cash, important papers, jewelry, etc. I bought the largest gun safe that would fit into my master closet (25 cubic feet) - it likely weighs 1,000 lbs. loaded. Check them out for overall quality at a dealer, and custom order if needed. In the past, I've watched YouTube videos showing how their safes survived fires and tornadoes.
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