Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What are the UL Ratings for Fire Safes?

Fireproof Safes
Underwriters Laboratory Fire Protection Ratings for Records Protection Equipment

The Underwriters Laboratory (UL) subjects records protection equipment to a barrage of tests to determine it's ability to withstand break ins, explosions, fires and impact tests. The fireproof capability of safes and other records protection equipment is determined by exposing the equipment to extreme temperatures, as much as 2000°F, for extended periods of time. The class rating indicates the maximum internal temperature of the records protection equipment, either 125°F for media and data or 350°F for paper documents. Class ratings are combined with hour ratings to show the minimum duration the product will still maintain a safe internal temperature and humidity level.

Class 125
Media begins to melt at 140°F. The UL Class 125 fire rating indicates the internal temperature of the product will not exceed 125°F with 80% humidity when put through temperatures of at least 1550°F.

Class 350
Paper begins to char at 400°F and has an ignition point of 450°F. The UL Class 350 fire rating indicates the internal temperature of the product will not exceed 350°F with 85% humidity when put through temperatures of at least 1550°F.
These class ratings are used in conjunction with hour ratings ½, 1, 2, 3, or 4:

FR: Fire resistant unrated insulated safe.
1/2 hr: Interior cannot exceed UL Class limits for at least 30 minutes with an outside temperature of 1550°F.
1 hr: Interior cannot exceed UL Class limits for at least 1 hour with an outside temperature of 1700°F.
2 hr: Interior cannot exceed UL Class limits for at least 2 hours with an outside temperature of 1850°F.
3 hr: Interior cannot exceed UL Class limits for at least 3 hours with an outside temperature of 1920°F.
4 hr: Interior cannot exceed UL Class limits for at least 4 hours with an outside temperature of 2000°F.

Learn more about fire safes with UL ratings at

Another Look at 10 Tips for Buying a Safe

Safes protect vital records and backup media from earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and other disasters that destroy businesses each year. The costly affects of a disaster can be minimized with proper planning. The right fire safe will protect your documents and maintain business continuity.
So you know need a fireproof safe. Great, which one?
Product knowledge puts power into your hands as a consumer.
Here are 10 tips to help ensure you are getting the right protection, at the right price.

1. What are your storage needs?
When deciding what type of fire safe to buy, first decide your storage needs. Most people don’t realize there are 2 types of fire safes on the market today. There are those for paper document storage (insurance papers, wills, checks, receipts, etc.) and those for data storage and computer media. Once you’ve decided what you are storing, then you can determine other factors like the type of lock, how many hours of fire protection you need, price range and interior accessories.

Remember, you can’t store computer data in a fire safe rated for paper—it will melt!

2. Which fire rating do you need?
Fire Safes carry different fire ratings. For the storage of computer media you must have a safe with a UL (Underwriter’s Laboratories) 125 or UL 72 fire rating. Without this rating, your media (CD’s, DVD’s, LTO tapes, DAT tapes, microfiche, film negatives, etc.) will melt in the event of a fire. In addition, media safes are designed so that the humidity inside the safe does not reach more than 80% during fire conditions. Document storage safes carry the UL 350 fire rating, preventing documents from charring. The safe is also designed to prevent documents from becoming brittle and unusable in extreme heat.

3. UL Listed vs. UL Rated and UL Tested?
What is the difference between UL Listed, Rated and Tested? If the product does not say UL Listed or UL Rated it means it has not passed the UL standards. UL Tested means that it has not passed the full barrage of testing. This is merely a sales ploy. Buyer beware. Check out our online resource library for the details on UL Ratings.

4. Will your floor support the weight of the safe?
One thing to take into consideration is whether or not your floor has the ability to support the weight of the safe. If you are purchasing a large safe and it is going to be placed on an elevated floor it is a good idea to have an engineer do an inspection to make sure that the building can support the load.

5. How many hours of fire protection do you need? 1 hour? 2 hours? 3 hours?
The average fire burns at around 800°F for about 20 minutes. The UL test for both UL 125°F and UL 350°F ratings is performed for 1 hour at 1700°F. In the 130 year history of Schwab Corp (now Sentry Safe) they have never had a product fail, and they only manufacture 1 hour safes. Fire King, manufacturer of 1 hour, 2 hour, and 3 hour safes, has also never had a product fail in their 50 year history. So what does this mean? Unless you are in an area that is a substantial distance from your local fire department, history shows that a 1 hour fireproof safe provides more than adequate protection.

6. Do you need the extra security of burglary or impact ratings?
Keep in mind, the fireproof rating is just one of the UL tests that these safes go through. Some are also tested and UL Listed to protect against theft and building collapse.

Rigorous burglary tests are conducted in which UL technicians use an assortment of picking tools, hand tools, grinding tools, mechanical tools and electrical tools to try to break into the safe. Higher ratings indicate the safes can withstand multiple attempted burglaries and longer break in periods. RSC (Residential Security Container), B Rated and C Rated safes are tested for 5 minutes, TL-15 are tested for 15 minutes and TL-30 are tested for 30 minutes. Visit our Burglary Rating Resource Section.

Safes are submitted to an impact test. This test is designed to replicate a 3 story building collapse. Immediately after going through the fireproof test, within 2 minutes of being heated to 1700°F, the safe is raised to a height of 30 ft. and is dropped onto a pile of bricks on a concrete base. If the safe remains closed and does not spill its contents it has passed the UL impact test.

7. Which interior accessory options do you need?
Most safes are priced with empty interiors because everyone has a different storage need. From fixed shelves to roll out multimedia drawers, there is an interior accessory designed to accommodate virtually every kind of media, document or valuable.

8. Do you require high security locks?
Combination locks are the general standard when it comes to safes, but there are a number of options if you require additional security. Deciding which one is right for you will depend on the level of security you are looking to attain. Some available options include:
• Group 2 Combination Lock (standard)
• Group 1R Combination Lock (manipulation proof)
• Group 2 Combination Lock with Key Locking Dial
• Key Locking Handle
• Digital Combination Lock

Each high security lock has it’s Pros and Cons―know your options, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Click here for the Schwab Corp Fireproof Safe Lock Options

9. Will you need a specialized delivery service?
All safe prices include free dock to dock delivery. This means that the safe will be delivered directly to your loading dock for you to remove. Inside delivery service is a generally advised option considering some safes weigh over 2,000 lbs. For inside delivery service address the following question for a more accurate delivery quote:
• Do you have a loading dock?
• Are there any stair steps involved?
• Is there a freight elevator?
• Do you require floor protection?
• What are the doorway dimensions?

Accurate answers allow the inside delivery company adequate preparation. Additional charges may apply.

10. What does UL 125 or UL 350 actually mean?
These are the 2 tests that UL has to determine fireproof capability. Media begins to melt at 140°F. During the UL 125 test the internal temperature of the safe will not exceed 125°F.
Paper documents begin to char at 400°F. The UL 350 test assures that the internal temperature will not exceed 350°F.

More information on safes can be found online at:

Below are examples of the leading brand names of safes as a reference point: (Now Sentry Safe)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Dahle CleanTEC Shredders | Improving Air Quality and Safety

Recently, Dahle, the world's leading brand name of paper shredders launched their new line of CleanTEC shredding machines. These paper shredders combine CD and DVD shredders with several new safety and performance features that are worth the investment.

Performance Features | Improving Paper Shredder ROI
The new CleanTEC paper shredders have built in performance features that will both improve operational performance as well as extend the life of the product. One of the best features is the new EvenFlow automatic oiler that will provide automatic lubrication of the cutting blades. Prior to the creation of EvenFlow, the paper shredder user would have to regularly oil the shredder blades to ensure optimum performance and ultimately this was a guessing game as to when the time was right. With the EvenFlow lubrication system the shredder does the oiling and a warning light blinks red with an audible beep to let you know when to add more oil to the reservoir.

Another great feature is the SmartPower management system that will automatically put the shredder into a sleep mode (much like your PC or Mac) to conserve power. When the shredder has been idle for 30 minutes, it shuts down to eliminate "power vampires" or wasted energy.

Safety Features | Air Quality and Personal Health
Dahle's CleanTEC paper shredders are the world's first shredders to have a built in air and dust filter system. The easy to change filters safely remove fine dust particles that are created every time you shred a document. Fine dust in the workplace has been shown to increase the likelihood of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems. In fact some countries have implemented standards that require the paper shredder to be located in a separate room from company employees.

Overall the new Dahle CleanTEC shredders have vastly improved upon traditional paper shredder operation and technology. When you compare the CleanTEC shredder to other brand name shredders it's easy to see why Dahle is a cut above!