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Is a Home Safe in Your Future?

Here's why you should consider such a protective box.

It’s an unfortunate fact of life. There are people who will scam you and steal from you with no care for how much damage they cause. They’ll take your money, your reputation, your property, your ID and your business – anything they can get their hands on. The best way to guard against scammers is with knowledge and common sense.

While a home safe is not a replacement for secure storage such as a bank-deposit box, it offers an extra layer of protection in your home.

Before buying a safe, however, decide what you want it to do for you. Are you concerned about a burglar? Fire or water protection? Preventing children from accessing hunting equipment? Once you’ve defined the purpose, you can narrow your search.

Here are some points to consider.

Fire protection – Because of different construction styles, not all safes are fireproof. The metal in a fireproof safe is primarily used to hold a fire retardant material. Unfortunately, that means it is more easily punctured or cut with simple hand tools.

Most fireproof safes will have a UL fire resistant rating. For example, a "UL 2-Hour" rating indicates the safe can endure fire for up to two hours. In the event of a home fire, water protection is also important. A safe’s ratings should also indicate how long it can withstand being fully submerged or sprayed by water.

Burglary – A burglary safe is usually made of a thick metal body designed to keep a thief out. However, because of their construction, they become like an oven in a fire and offer little or no fire protection for their contents.

Many burglar safes have a rating based on how long they can keep a UL tester out. Testers will attempt to open a safe with tools, torches and even explosives. A TL-15 rated safe, for example, can withstand at least a 15-minute attack involving common tools.

Gun – Gun safes come in many styles and sizes. Construction, thickness and type of locking mechanism should be your first concerns, followed by fire rating.

Size – The larger and heavier the safe, the harder it will be for a thief to take. Also, a heavier safe is likely made of sturdier materials and harder to break into. Consider choosing a size larger than your immediate need as you may find more items to store and protect in the future.

Hide your safe

If a thief sees your safe, the first assumption is that there’s something inside worth stealing. Therefore, hiding your safe adds an additional layer of security.

  • Wall safes can be hidden behind paintings, clocks, wall-mounted TVs or even behind a large, heavy piece of furniture.
  • Floor safes can be hidden under a couch, bed, rug or other piece of furniture.
  • Camouflage safes look like a wall outlet, rock, clock, can of soda or cleaning supplies. They aren’t very large, but the advantage is that they blend in so well, no one would think of them as a safe place to store valuables.

The master bedroom tends to be the first place burglars look for valuables. A basement could be better from a fire-protection standpoint, but a safe stored there could fill up with water from fighting a fire.

No matter where you keep your safe, make sure you can bolt it to the floor or a wall. The harder it is to find and remove, the more secure your valuables will remain.

Ultimately, no safe is completely foolproof. Think about the maximum value and type of the contents you plan to store inside it.

Finally, remember that the point of having a safe is security. Don’t tell anyone you have a safe or show them where it is.

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