Fireproof Safe FAQs

Now I will take your questions" Simpsons GIF

1. What is a fireproof safe?

TBH, this isn’t actually a frequently asked question about fireproof safes, since the definition is already in the name: it’s a safe that is designed to protect its contents from fire damage. But HOW do they do it?

Fireproof safes are usually constructed with fire-resistant materials like steel and fiberglass. More expensive ones might also use concrete, which is a great fire retardant. Since fire is pretty persistent, safes are rated by the amount of time they can withstand high external temperatures while keeping the inside below a safe temperature threshold. For example, you can buy a safe that’s rated for one hour of fire-resistance.

2. What factors should I consider when buying a fireproof safe?

Think about your ideal safe’s size, price, warranty options, locking mechanism, and number of bolts.

  • Size: Between 0.5 and 5 cubic ft is a good size for most homes. 
  • Price: Good ones start around $120, but you can find them for $600 as well. Let your budget be your guide!
  • Warranty: Most manufacturers offer a one year warranty. If you find an onsite warranty option, that means their representative will come to you! Offsite warranties make you do the legwork.
  • Lock: Choose what works best for you. Some users may want a safe with a traditional combination lock, while others may prefer a digital lock. Digital locks are a bit more secure, but can still be hacked.
  • Bolts: The bolts are what secure the door to the frame, keeping your items safe. More bolts means more security… and a higher price. Expensive safes usually have 4 moving bolts. 

3. What is UL fire certification? 

UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, an independent organization that tests all types of products for safety and effectiveness. A UL certification usually indicates a safe and high quality item.

Does your fireproof safe need to be UL-certified? It’s up to you! Having a record of keeping your items in a UL-certified safe may make it easier to file insurance claims for damaged items, but certifications do usually come at a higher cost.

small lock on wooden door
This “fireproof safe” would definitely not pass a UL certification test.

4. Are all fireproof safes burglar-proof?

As with most questions about crime, it depends on how smart and/or persistent your burglar is.

All fireproof safes are made of alloy steel. That makes them more or less burglar-proof, as long as they’re bolted down.

The career criminals among you have already started to say, “Yeah, but then you just knock the hinges off.” Touché. Hingeless safes with heavy steel on all sides are more secure.

“Yeah, but then you just blowtorch the back.” Touché again! The most secure safes have temperature and shock sensors to detect intrusion.

So, no. Not all fireproof safes are burglar-proof. While fireproof safes are designed to protect their contents from fire damage, the one you choose might still be crackable.

5. Are all fireproof safes also waterproof? 

Not all fireproof safes are waterproof, but many that aren’t waterproof are water-resistant. You should be able to find “waterproof” or “water-resistant” in the description of the safe to determine if it is.

To be waterproof, a safe needs a rubber lining or gasket along the door, which is not a feature you’ll find. on the lower cost models.

If you think the fire that affects your house is likely to be extinguished with water or you live in a flood prone area, it’s a good idea to look for a waterproof safe.

6. How do I install a fireproof safe?

  1. Choose a suitable, private location in your home. Make sure the floor is sturdy, since these safes are very heavy.
  2. Decide whether you want floor or wall mounting. If it has to be wall mounted; the wall might need to be reinforced due to its enormous weight.
  3. Most safes come with drilled holes at the floor and rear for installation. These holes might be initially covered by fireproof material, which you should remove from your preferred mounting location.
  4. Drill pilot holes in your floor or wall as needed, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Insert the bolts and tighten them securely with a wrench. Try to move it! If you can’t, you did a good job.
security guard
The final step is hiring a security company to guard your safe at all times, but that’s optional.

Conclusion: Go Get Your Fireproof Safe!

If you’re still on the fence, keep in mind that you never know what’s going to happen. San Bernardino County declared an emergency due to a snowstorm in early 2023.

Yes, there was a snowstorm in Southern California, and it was so bad that it trapped vacationers and residents without food and power for days. After a summer full of wildfire danger, they were trapped by snow that also posed a fire danger. When roads are blocked, firefighters can’t get to the house fires started by candlelight, and more houses burn down. It’s coming at you from all angles!

A little investment goes a long way when it comes to the things you really can’t replace… or things that would require weeks of talking to an unhelpful robot to get back. Fireproof safes can help protect your important stuff and give you peace of mind. While you’re on a fire safety kick, don’t forget to check your smoke detectors, update your fire extinguishers, and run your fire drills to have a comprehensive fire protection plan at home.

About the Authors

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.

Writer, editor, and professional joker with an environmental science background. Like most trivia nerds, she's an ardent admirer of Only Connect competitors, but more at home on the QI field.