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Choosing the right Commercial safe for you

If you’ve got a commercial building, it’s certainly vital to protect the crucial documents, sensitive data, and irreplaceable valuables pertaining to your company. A proper safe is often the correct strategy for most businesses.
With so many types of safes and safe locks available, how do you choose the best one for your needs? It’s important to do your research, asking the right questions:

1. What is the value of the items you’ll be keeping in your safe?

How valuable your items are will obviously affect the level of security required.

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

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

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

2. What kind of safe do you need?

  • An office safe is common for restaurants and retailers. Freestanding or bolted to the floor, this kind of safe usually has a fairly high fire rating. This is also a safe that can’t be opened by repeated dropping.
  • With a depository safe (also called a drop safe), is another popular safe used by many restaurants and retail businesses. You can drop cash, or other small items, such as receipts or keys, into the safe through a small door at the top of your safe, which doesn’t allow access to the main safe compartment. The only way to get the door open is by inputting the correct credentials.
  • An in-floor safe is hidden in concrete, which adds an extra level of security. One drawback is that fire protection will be minimal, because there’s no fire board to dissipate the heat. Therefore, if you need to protect any cash or crucial papers, you should choose a burglar-fire safe, a free-standing composite-fire safe, or a high-security burglar-fire safe, with a 1- to 2-hour fire rating. Be sure to anchor it into a concrete floor with bolts.
  • A wall safe is also well concealed. Your safe can be fully hidden (for instance, behind a picture). Nevertheless, a wall safe isn’t the most secure choice, because it’s attached to the studs in the wall, and thus can be easily cut or pried out. Furthermore, the only fire protection provided will be limited to the sheetrock in your wall.
  • A data or media safe is for effectively protecting your business information. It’s imperative to properly safeguard your electronic devices from fire and theft. Computer disks, drives, and all other digital media are very sensitive to changes in temperature, so you’ll want a safe whose interior won't exceed 125 degrees Fahrenheit or go over 85 percent humidity.
  • A high-security safe will often include numerous barriers to prevent drilling. They’ll also have additional locking mechanisms that will deploy if a thief attempts to force the safe open. A maximum level of security comes with a higher price, but depending on your circumstances - if you own a jewelry store, for example - then it makes good sense to keep the heart of your business well secured.

3. How large should your safe be?

How big should your commercial safe be? You could simply pile up everything you plan to put in it, and measure it. However, as a rule, the safe you need is probably much larger than you think. It’s wise to consult with a professional about which of your business items must be stored in a safe. Then, you can determine mathematically how much space will be required.

4. Do you need fire protection?

Besides standard classes for commercial safes, there are also official fire ratings. No safe is completely fireproof; but there are various levels of fire resistance. Safes are tested and certified for the length of time they can guard your valuables inside from destruction by fire. A fire rating of 1 hour or greater is ideal. Safes rated to protect paper documents shouldn't get any hotter than 350 degrees Fahrenheit on the inside during a fire.

A safe that provides substantially more fire protection along with optimum theft protection will have a steel door, and walls made of steel, housed in a layer of composite material that’s as solid as concrete. Don’t forget a fire seal on the door, which seals out most moisture from entering the safe over time, to minimize rust and corrosion. During a fire, the fire seal will expand, sealing out fire and smoke, and keeping any water from entering the safe (Water could be sprayed on the safe to extinguish a fire).
One last point to keep in mind is that if you have a safe with a low-to-moderate level of fire resistance, it actually won’t provide much theft protection. If you desire both theft protection and fire resistance, then you’ll need a top-quality composite-fire safe, a burglar-fire safe, or a high-security TL-rated fire safe.

5. What kind of safe lock is best?

Safes have different types of locks - electronic, combination dial, redundant, biometric, and so on.

6. How do you make a final decision?

No doubt, there are a good number of factors to consider before purchasing a commercial safe - more than we’ve covered here. Once you decide, where you choose to put your safe is also important. To avoid being scammed, do your homework first, checking only with reputable sources. If you’re located anywhere in Irving, Texas, then you may want to hire a dependable expert safe technician on staff at Locksmith Irving TX.

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