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Fireproof Safes & Data Storage FAQs

What is a cash rating and how is it determined on a cash or burglary safe?

The cash rating of a safe relates to the amount of cash for which an insurance company will offer overnight insurance cover. As with all insurance companies this value can vary slightly depending on location and may be higher or lower than the manufacturer recommended Cash Rating quoted. Please check with your insurer for exact ratings. Cash Ratings are determined by door and wall thickness, lock types used and the general build quality of a safe. The higher the Cash Rating the more secure the safe is.

How is the fire rating determined on a fireproof or data safe?

The following is an explanation of internationally accepted fire resistant safe testing procedures for 30, 60, 90, 120 and 180 minutes. During all tests the internal temperature must remain below 177°C when exposed to furnace temperatures during a one hour test period of 925°C, a two hour test period of 1010°C and a three hour test period of 1105°C.

  1. Fire Endurance Test
    This test measures the temperature rise over a given time span. Thermocouples are fixed on all six internal surfaces of the safe to record the temperature rise inside the safe, the unit is locked and placed inside a specially constructed test furnace where the temperature is raised in accordance with the standard temperature curve BS 476 to the required test temperature and for the appropriate time period. Once cooled, the unit is opened and examined for usability. The unit locking mechanisms and parts fastenings are examined for security and the interior examined for visible evidence of undue heat transmission.
  2. Explosion Hazard Test
    This test is designed to simulate the safe being suddenly exposed to superheated temperatures which could cause the fire resisting compounds used in the safe to expand rapidly and explode. The safe is locked and placed into a furnace preheated to 1095°C. This temperature is maintained for 30 minutes (2 hour test is 45 minutes) and if no explosion results, the unit is allowed to cool without opening the furnace doors.
  3. Fire Drop Test
    This test measures the strength of the safe and its ability to withstand the effect of falling through a burning and collapsing building. The safe is locked and placed into a furnace preheated to 925°C. This temperature is maintained for 30 minutes before the safe is removed hoisted to a height of 10 metres and dropped onto a bed of rubble. The safe is then placed back in the furnace upside down for a further 30 minutes.

Does my safe require installing?

Some of the safes we sell will require installation either by yourself or by a professional installation engineer. Further information regarding installation is displayed on each product listing. Full installation instructions are included with your safe.

Are there any additional charges for delivery to an upper floor or via steps?

Our Free Delivery includes the delivery of the safe to your door, only. This applies to any UK mainland location. Please note that we cannot deliver with this standard delivery if there are stairs leading to your door. Please contact us if you are uncertain or want the safe to be delivered over stairs.

If you require the fire safe to be delivered into the building, you can choose an upgrade to indoor delivery with a hand pallet truck by clicking the relevant upgrade within our product description. Please note that this option is not available for smaller fire safes. If you choose this upgrade the driver will arrive with a suitable vehicle with tail lift and pallet truck. The driver will position the safe into any position that can be reached with a hand pallet truck. This can also include the use of any lifts available, as long as the size and weight-carrying capacity of the lift is suitable. The driver will position the safe and remove the packaging. The access to the building must have no obstructions, eg. steps. Please notify us if you have any steps in the building, as the driver might not be able to move the hand pallet truck over the steps.

If you require the safe to be transported to different floor levels via stairs, please ring us on 0800 077 6149 or e-mail us on . We will then discuss your particular situation and can quote any extra transport costs, if necessary.

Can I change the electronic lock combination myself?

Yes, full instructions on how to do this will be in your safe manual. If you no longer have your manual please contact us for further information.

What if the batteries run down on a safe with an electronic lock?

All electronic locks are designed to save your combination through an internal memory even if the batteries run down. Batteries are accessible from the outside of the safe and are very easy to replace by following the manufacturer instructions.

Do fireproof filing cabinets actually work?

There are a lot of fire protection filing cabinets and fire safes on the market to protect paperwork. You just need to make sure you pick the right category depending from the material/media you are trying to protect. The following options are available:

  1. Fire safes/fireproof filing cabinets for paper and valuables, which are keeping the inside temperature in the fire safe down below 177°C during a 'standard' fire for the stated period of time. Above this temperature, paper will get damaged
  2. Fire safes for paper, valuables and Digital Media such as hard drives, USB sticks, DVDs, CDs, ect. These safes keep the inside temperature below 125°C. Above this temperature, the drives would get damaged
  3. Fire safes for paper, valuables, Digital Media and Magnetic Media (floppies, backup tapes and even photographic film). These media are far more sensitive and the safes have to keep the inside temperature very low at below 52°C to avoid damage
  4. Also very handy are combi fire safes with separate sections for paper/valuables and for magnetic media

To choose the right fireproof safe, you need to choose, which materials/media you want to store, how much internal fire safe space you require and for how long you want to protect. Some distributors offer Overview pages.

If you for example choose a safe with 1 hour fire protection, this safe should be able to hold the inside temperature below the temperature required for the materials/media stored inside for at least one hour, even if the safe stands at the centre of a typical fire. In reality, this does not happen very often and most safes will protect the contents for much longer periods, as the fire temperature in the locality of the safe is usually lower than in the centre of the blaze.

You can choose different styles of fire safes:

  • Fireproof filing cabinets, which are usually designed for protection of paper and match the normal look and function of filing cabinets.
  • Front-opening fire safes, which are suited for longer protection times and usually can hold more content
  • Top opening fireproof boxes, which are good for small amounts of items requiring protection

If the keypad for my Phoenix safe is damaged in a fire, how will I gain entry to the contents?

Phoenix can send out an engineer to gain entry for you. We also offer a free after-fire replacement guarantee on all our products.

What can I store in a fire safe?

Manufacturers of fireproof storage units focus on three main types of product:

  • Paper (e.g. passports, certificates, insurance policies, deeds and cash (notes);
  • Digital media (e.g. USB / memory sticks, DVDs, CDs, digital cameras, iPods, MP3 players and external hard drives);
  • Data / magnetic media (e.g. computer back-up tapes, floppy disks, traditional internal hard drives and video / audio tapes).

It is important to choose the correct specification of safe, according to the type of product(s) you wish to protect.

What is meant by ‘humidity level’?

Data media and film are particularly vulnerable to the humidity generated inside a fire safe during a fire. Fireproof storage units designed to protect this type of product are therefore tested to the following critical levels:

  • Film: 85% humidity restriction
  • Data: 80% humidity restriction

What is meant by ‘water resistance’?

Some fire safes offer resistance to the ingress of water as well as fire protection for a specified length of time. Sources of water may include sprinklers, hoses or even flooding.


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