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When you have a commercial building, it’s absolutely critical that you protect the important documents, irreplaceable valuables, and crucial data belonging to your business. A top-quality commercial safe is often an effective strategy for most companies.

When there are so many kinds of safes and safe locks, how can you know what’s best for you? It’s vital that you do your homework, and ask the right questions.

  1. How big should your safe be?

    You could just pile up everything you want to put into it, and measure it. The problem is, in general, the safe you need is probably much larger than you think. Consult with a professional about which items ought to be stored in your safe. Then you’ll be able to figure out mathematically how much space is required.

  2. What’s the value of the items you’ll store in your safe?

    The value of your items will obviously affect the level of security you need.

    The standard categories of safe classes will play a major role in your insurance coverage and any claims. The coverage increases according to the class of the safe. The class of a safe ~ from TL15 (about $150,000 of coverage) to TRTL60X6 (approximately $2 million or more of coverage) ~ is determined by:

    • area testing (the level of how easy it is to get in the front door, or all the sides);
    • torch resistance;
    • tool resistance (the level of resistance to a thief’s carbide drills, picking tools, hand tools, and electric or mechanical tools); and
    • time testing (how long it takes a safe cracker to break in).

    A TL15 rating means that the door of the safe can successfully resist entry for a net assault time of 15 minutes by a burglar with common hand tools, picking tools, drills, grinders, mechanical or electric portable tools, or pressure devices. Most business owners prefer to have a safe that’s class TL30 or higher, which means a safe that’s time-tested to at least 30 minutes or higher.

  3. Do you want fire protection?

    Besides standard classes for commercial safes, there are also formal fire ratings. No safe is totally fireproof; but there are numerous levels of fire resistance. Safes are tested and certified according to how much time they can guard your valuables inside from fire. A fire rating of 1 hour or more is the ideal. During a fire, safes rated to protect paper documents cannot get any hotter than 350 degrees Fahrenheit on the inside.

    A safe that provides you with optimal fire protection along with substantial theft protection will have a door and walls made of steel, housed in a layer of composite material that’s as tough as concrete. There must be a fire seal on the door, which blocks out most moisture from getting in the safe over time, to minimize corrosion and rust. If a fire occurs, the fire seal will expand, sealing out smoke and flames, and also keeping water from entering the safe (Water might be sprayed on the safe to extinguish a fire).

    A point to remember is that if you have a safe with a low-to-moderate level of fire resistance, it essentially won’t provide very much theft protection. If you desire both theft protection and fire resistance, then you’ll need a premium-quality composite-fire safe, a burglar-fire safe, or a high-security TL-rated fire safe.

  4. What type of safe do you need?

    • A depository safe (also known as a drop safe), is a popular safe often used by restaurants and retail businesses. You can drop cash, or other small items, such as keys or receipts, into the safe through a little door at the top of the safe, which doesn’t allow access to the main safe compartment. The only way to open the door is by entering the correct credentials.
    • An office safe is also common for restaurants and retailers. Freestanding, or bolted to the floor, this safe typically has a rather high fire rating. This is a good safe that can’t be opened by repeated dropping.
    • An in-floor safe is hidden in concrete, adding an extra level of security. One drawback is that it provides minimal fire protection, because there isn’t a fire board to dissipate the heat. Therefore, if you need to protect any papers or cash, you should choose a burglar-fire safe, a free-standing composite-fire safe, or a high-security burglar-fire safe, which has a 1- to 2-hour fire rating. Anchor it into a concrete floor with bolts.
    • A wall safe is also very well concealed. You can easily hide your safe behind a picture. Nevertheless, a wall safe in not your most secure choice, since it’s attached to the studs in the wall, so it could be cut or pried out by an experienced crook. This safe’s only fire protection is limited to the sheetrock in your wall.
    • A data or media safe is for efficiently protecting your business information. It’s obviously imperative to safeguard your electronic devices from fire and theft. Computer disks, drives, and all other digital media are sensitive to temperature changes, so you’ll want a safe whose interior won't exceed 125 degrees Fahrenheit or go over 85% humidity.
    • A high-security safe will include a good number of barriers to prevent drilling. They’ll also have additional locking mechanisms that will deploy if a robber tries to force the safe open. A maximum level of security comes with a hefty price, but depending on your circumstances ~ if you have a jewelry store, for instance ~ then it’s definitely wise to keep the heart of your business well secured.
  5. What kind of safe lock is right for you?

    Safes have different sorts of locks ~ combination dial, redundant, electronic, biometric, and so forth.
  6. How do you make your final choice?

    There are a lot of factors to consider before you buy your commercial safe ~ actually even more than we’ve discussed here. Once you choose, where you place your safe is also important. To avoid being scammed, do your research first, consulting only with reputable sources.

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