A gun safe’s fire resistance depends on four primary qualities:
Paper begins to char around 405°F. Guns start taking damage at temperature levels above 500°F. To properly safeguard documents and other belongings during a home fire, the internal temperature level of a safe needs to remain at levels below 350 ° F. This is why we guarantee Phoenix ™ Fire Security quality standards to all of our models–so your valuables will be safe from both fire and theft.
Fire causes a staggering 6 billion plus in property damages annually. In addition, the National Fire Protection Agency NFPA reported that one home structure fire happens every 85 seconds. When looking for a safe, the fire rating is often one of the lowest considerations, but should actually be at the top of your list. It doesn’t make sense to invest in a fire-resistant safe that won’t actually protect your guns or ammo in a fire. Not all safes that claim fire protection are created equal. It’s important to buy a safe that provides adequate protection.
Champion Safes offers real fire protection with UL certification offering protection anywhere from 45 minutes up to two hours. All Champion safes have protection levels that meet the strict UL72 certification requirements. All Champion safes proudly display the UL72 certification sticker to ensure product quality. The Underwriter’s Laboratory standard number 72 is the designated code that is used to indicate a test for the protection of records and documents in the event of a fire. This rating has several sub-classifications depending on the desired internal temperature in the event of a fire. For example, the UL-72 class 350 is set aside for paper products because in the event the temperature rises above 350 degrees, documents may begin to char and information may be destroyed. The UL 72 class 150 is set aside for magnetic tapes, and class 125 is used for flexible discs. In addition to these ratings, a timestamp is also indicated. The timestamp measures the amount of time an item can be exposed to fire while still retaining the desired internal temperature.
You may not have ever given a lot of thought into how your gun safe earned its fire rating. Having a little bit of knowledge about this process can help determine the rating that will fit your needs. In our blog “Understanding Gun Safe Fire Ratings,” we detail why it is important to have a professional ASME facility test the fire ratings of a gun safe versus a “factory certified” safe. If your safe includes a UL seal, like all Champion Safes, you rest assured that each gun safe has passed vigorous testing from a reliable source, the Underwriter’s Laboratory.
Below are the extensive tests performed by the Underwriter’s Laboratory that need to be passed in order to earn this rare rating:
The Underwriter’s Laboratory will put the safe into a 1,700° F furnace for a period of one hour, or a 1850° F furnace for two hours. Once that step is complete, the gun safe is allowed to cool, which can take several days to cool completely. Once the cooling process is complete, the safes are opened and the documents and records are examined to determine if there was undue heat transmission. The inside of the safe is also inspected for heat or humidity damage.
After the fire endurance test, safes undergo another level of testing called the Fire and Impact Test. It follows the basic premise of the Fire Endurance test, but instead of cooling off in the furnace, the safe is removed, raised 30 feet, and then dropped on a pile of broken bricks on a concrete base. This test is designed to imitate a gun safe dropping from the third floor of a burning building in case of a severe fire. As if that is not enough, the safe is then turned upside down and once again reheated to see if it retains its ability to resist fire.
While there are vigorous testing standards for gun safes to earn UL certification for protection from fire, there is no such thing as a “fireproof” gun safe. Any gun safe that is subject to fire for a long enough at a high temperature will deteriorate at a point. No matter how well a safe is designed and constructed to protect your valuables against fire damage, it will only protect your valuables against fire for a few hours. The term “fire resistant” is the term generally preferred, since it recognizes the fact that all safes constructed to protect against fire damage will merely resist fire damage for a specified period of time.
When looking for a safe that will stand up to fire, look for one that can keep the temperature inside the safe down as low as needed for what you keep in the safe and for as long as it would take the fire department to get to it’s location in the event of a fire. Choosing a gun safe that is backed with UL testing is your best bet. Trust the best; trust Champion Safes.
The Crown and Triumph series were tested simultaneously at an ASME certified facility. Four unshielded temperature sensors positioned near the top and bottom of each safe were connected to two separate temperature recorders to verify internal temperatures. The test continued for two hours, heating the steel exteriors to cherry red. Afterward, when examining the burned safes, we found the intense heat had buckled and deformed the safes’ bodies, but the doors remained straight and sealed.
The Trophy, Medalist and Model T series were tested simultaneously at an ASME certified facility. Four unshielded temperature sensors positioned near the top and bottom of each safe were connected to two separate temperature recorders to verify internal temperatures. The test continued for 75 minutes, with furnace temperatures exceeding 1500° F. The results prove that you can’t find better fire protection in an internal-hinge safe.