Are Safes Protected From Fire and Flood Damage?

The short answer is yes, some of them are. Many safes are designed to provide protection against fire and, in some cases, water damage. These features are especially important for safeguarding important documents, valuable items, or sensitive materials that could be susceptible to damage in the event of a fire or flood. Here are the common features found in safes that offer fire and flood protection

Fire Resistant Insulation

Safes intended to provide fire protection often incorporate fire-resistant insulation materials within their construction. These materials, such as gypsum, ceramic fibers, or specialized fire-resistant composites, have high melting points and provide insulation to withstand high temperatures. The insulation helps to maintain the internal temperature of the safe at a lower level during a fire, protecting the contents from heat damage.

Fire Ratings

Safes with fire protection are typically assigned fire ratings based on their ability to withstand fire for a specific duration. The fire rating indicates the length of time the safe can maintain an internal temperature below a certain threshold during a fire. Common fire ratings include 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, and 120 minutes. The specific rating can vary depending on the safe’s construction and the level of fire resistance it provides.

These fire rating criteria are general guidelines and may vary depending on specific regulations, industry standards, and individual requirements. When selecting a safe, consider the type of items you intend to store and their fire vulnerability. Look for safes that meet or exceed the recommended fire rating standards for the specific contents you plan to protect.

As always, seek guidance from your insurance company to make sure your safe meets the specifications of your policy.

Independent Fire Security Standards

In the UK, there are several independent fire security standards that are used to assess the fire resistance of safes. Some of the commonly recognized standards include:

  • EN 15659: This European standard specifies the requirements and test methods for fire resistance of safes and cabinets.
  • BS 476: Part 20 and Part 22: These British Standards define the fire resistance requirements for building elements, including safes and cabinets.
  • UL 72: Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standard for fire resistance testing of safes, vaults, and fire-resistant cabinets. UL 72 is a widely recognized standard globally.
  • NT Fire 017: This Swedish standard provides requirements for fire resistance testing of document cabinets and data cabinets.
  • KS G 4500: Korean standard for fire resistance testing of safes.
  • JIS S 1037: Japanese Industrial Standard for fire resistance testing of safes and cabinets.


These standards evaluate the ability of safes to withstand fire for a specific duration, typically measured in minutes or hours. They assess factors such as fire resistance of materials, insulation properties, and temperature rise inside the safe during a fire. Safes meeting these standards provide an indication of their ability to protect contents from fire damage.

Protecting Valuables From Heat and Flames

Fire rating criteria for safe contents can vary depending on the type of items being stored and their susceptibility to heat and fire damage. While specific requirements may vary based on individual needs and regulations, here are some general guidelines for fire ratings:

  • Paper Documents: Paper has a relatively low ignition point and is highly susceptible to heat and flames. To protect paper documents, a common fire rating requirement is to ensure that the internal temperature of the safe remains below 177°C for a specified period, such as 30 minutes or 1 hour.
  • Digital Media: Digital media, including CDs, DVDs, hard drives, and USB drives, are more sensitive to heat and require a higher level of protection. Fire ratings for digital media may require the internal temperature of the safe to remain below 52°C to 72°C for a specific duration, such as 1 hour or 2 hours.
  • Data Tapes: Magnetic tapes, such as backup tapes and data cartridges, are even more sensitive to heat than digital media. Fire ratings for data tapes typically require the internal temperature of the safe to remain below 52°C for a specified duration, such as 1 hour or 2 hours.

Water and Flood Protection

Some safes also offer water and flood protection. These safes are designed to prevent water from infiltrating the interior, protecting the contents from water damage in the event of flooding or water-related incidents, such as a burst pipe or fire sprinkler system activation. Water-resistant or waterproof seals are often incorporated into the safe’s design to create a barrier against moisture.

Safes can offer different levels and kinds of water protection to safeguard the contents from water damage. Here are the commonly used terms to describe water protection in safes:

  • Water-Resistant: Safes labeled as water-resistant are designed to provide some level of protection against water intrusion. They are constructed with seals, gaskets, or special materials to help prevent water from entering the safe during certain conditions, such as minor water exposure or brief submersion.
  • Waterproof: Waterproof safes are specifically designed to withstand submersion in water for a specified duration without allowing water to penetrate the interior. These safes are sealed tightly to prevent water from entering, even when submerged in a certain depth of water for a specific period.
  • Water and Fire-Resistant: Some safes offer a combination of water and fire resistance. These safes are designed to protect the contents not only from fire but also from water damage resulting from firefighting efforts, such as water sprinklers or hose water.

It’s important to note that the level of water protection can vary among safes. Manufacturers may specify the depth of water submersion or the duration of water exposure that a safe can withstand. It’s essential to carefully review the specifications and certifications provided by the manufacturer to ensure the desired level of water protection for your specific needs.

Additionally, it’s worth considering the intended location of the safe, particularly if you live in an area susceptible to flooding. Placing the safe in an elevated position or using additional measures, such as waterproof bags or containers for sensitive items, can provide an extra layer of protection against water damage.


When choosing a safe with fire and water protection, consider the following:

  1. Fire Resistance: Look for safes that have been tested and certified to meet recognized fire resistance standards. Consider the duration of fire protection required for the items you plan to store, such as paper documents or digital media.
  2. Water Resistance: Determine the level of water protection needed based on the potential risks of water exposure, such as flooding or firefighting efforts. Look for safes that are water-resistant or waterproof, ensuring they can withstand submersion or water exposure for a specified duration.
  3. Certification: Check if the safe has undergone independent testing and certification by reputable organisations. Look for certifications that validate the fire and water resistance claims made by the manufacturer.
  4. Construction Quality: Consider the materials and construction of the safe. Look for features such as specialised seals, gaskets, or insulation to provide enhanced protection against fire and water damage.
  5. Location and Installation: Consider the placement of the safe in your home or office. Ensure it is installed in a secure area and follow any manufacturer recommendations for proper installation. Additionally, consider elevating the safe or using additional protective measures to further safeguard against water damage.
  6. Contents and Storage Capacity: Assess the specific items you plan to store in the safe and ensure it offers adequate storage capacity for your needs. Different items may have different vulnerabilities to fire and water, so choose a safe that suits your specific requirements.
  7. Manufacturer Reputation: Research the reputation and track record of the safe manufacturer. Look for established brands such as Chubb, Burton or Yale ,who amongst others, are known for producing high-quality safes with reliable fire and water protection features.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision when selecting a safe with fire and water protection, ensuring your valuable items remain secure and safeguarded from potential hazards.

Related Posts

If you found this helpful, why not have a look at some of our other articles about safes?