Commercial safes are nothing new to the loss prevention world; since being patented in 1835 safes have done nothing but increase in security and presence, which means it’s probably not necessary to spell out the benefits of installing a safe and protecting the valuables of your facility, business or home. Widely considered non-negotiable, commercial safes provide an integral piece of the security your business needs to thrive. With the number of types of safes and safe locks available, selecting the right one can be a daunting task. Over the next two newsletters, our featured articles will discuss how to select the proper safe and safe lock for your facility. Today we will review the physical safe itself.
Determining the Value – Commercial Safe Class
The easiest place to start your selection process is to determine the average dollar value of the commercial safe’s contents. Typically, one doesn’t take the same precautions to secure $5,000 as they do to secure $5,000,000. The level of security you desire and size of your budget will be greatly influenced by this value and narrow down the types of safes that fit these requirements.
Underwriter Laboratories (UL) conducts a series of extensive testing to categorize the different types of safes into one of the following classes:
Given that the national average for police response times is 11 minutes, you likely want a safe that is class TL30 or higher. This should give police ample time to respond before any criminals are able to make away with the contents of your safe.
Safe class also plays a big role in insurance claims. There is a limit on the coverage amount offered dependent upon the safe type and class. If your safe is compromised and the thieves are successful with their robbery, the amount of coverage goes up as the class of safe increases.
Types of Commercial Safes – The Options
Now that you have determined the class of safe, it’s time to select the type of safe you need.
Deposit or Drop Safes
Depository safes are a popular choice among the retail and restaurant world. Money (or other small items such as keys or documents) can be dropped into the safe through a hopper-like door at the top of the safe without allowing access to the main safe compartment. The only way to access the items inside the container is by entering the correct credentials and opening the main front door.
As designated by the name, this type of safe is designed to protect the safe’s contents from fire. Just as there are various classes of commercial safes, there are various fire-ratings for safes. Underwriters Laboratories tests and certifies safes for the amount of time that they can safeguard your valuables from fire. There are two main types of construction in fire-rated safes. One provides substantially more fire-protection than the other.
It is important to note that the second type of safe provides little to no theft protection. Be sure to take this into account when selecting a safe.
Like deposit safes, office safes are very common in retail and restaurant sectors. They can be freestanding or bolted to the floor with the added benefit of fire-ratings. Many office safes have very high fire ratings. In addition, they are drop tested to ensure the burglar will not gain access to its contents by repeated dropping of the safe.
Data or Media Safes
Information stored on any kind of electronic device can be deleted at relatively low temperatures. Paper that is tucked away in the safe when there is a fire can withstand temperatures of up to 350° Fahrenheit while digital media can only withstand temperatures of less than 125° Fahrenheit. Data safes are manufactured to protect the priceless and essential information from high temperatures and smoke damage.
High-security commercial safes are the most robust and secure safes you can find and include both the TL and TR categories of safes. Typically, these safes will include multiple types of barriers to prevent drilling and will also have additional locking mechanisms that deploy when someone is trying to force their way in.
With the increased level of security comes a high price tag, but that price is often justified by the value of contents that need to be secured.