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Small fire safe for papers, hard drives etc??

small fire safe for papers hard drives etc

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2 replies to this topic

#1 Jakef150


    Respected Gunowner

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Posted July 29 2016 - 10:06 PM

looking for fire safe "box" for important papers, external hard drive etc

any recommend ? Don't want to dump too much money.

approx 12"x12" to 15"x15"


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#2 rlitman


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Posted July 30 2016 - 07:43 AM

A standard fire safe is NOT going to protect a hard drive or other digital media. For that, you need a UL class 125 safe. That requires at a minimum, 5" thick walls or so (the one I use at work has 7" thick walls and a second inner door). As such, a small safe for this purpose does not exist.

A regular UL class 350 safe is for paper only. The environment inside following a fire will almost certainly destroy a hard drive, DVD or tape.

If you have a large class 350 safe, you can buy a Schwab Media Cooler to protect digital media inside. That's what I do at home.
  • Jakef150 likes this

#3 rlitman


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Posted August 01 2016 - 01:05 PM

Nobody else?

Ok, well, here's a sample of what I have at work. Not my actual tape safe, but the same model Schwab Databank (their SMALLEST one).
The dimensions of the safe are as follows: Outside - 41H x 30.5W x 30D -- Inside - 26.5H x 19W x 16D -- 885 pounds

n.b. an older version of the same model safe can be found with a UL class 150 rating. That rating is NOT suitable for digital media, and was designed specifically for storage of film negatives.

Basically, this thing has the footprint of an average refrigerator, and doesn't even have room inside for two milk crates. And all that only gets you a 1 hour rating.
I am not familiar with a smaller digital media safe that carries a UL rating, but because of the necessary wall thickness, getting much smaller starts to get pointless. By the time you reduce the exterior down to a box the size of a milk crate (what you're looking for), you'd be left with too little interior room to store even a single hard drive (perhaps even a single USB key...). Perhaps you could build something out of space shuttle tiles that has a thinner wall.

My advice for digital media is to come up with a way to store a copy of it off-site. Encrypted if possible. Even the smallest bank vault boxes can fit a small external hard drive (laptop sized drive). If the drive is encrypted, you could always trade storage with a family member or friend.
You could also trust it to a cloud backup service. That's certainly the most convenient method, because with the right software, backup becomes a continuous process that requires no intervention or effort.

Now if you're JUST looking to preserve stuff on paper, almost anything designed for that purpose will do. What comes out of the box after a fire may not look all that pretty, but even the cheapest Sentry fire box is designed to keep paper below the auto-ignition temperature when engulfed in a fire. Though if you're trying to keep register receipts, note that thermal paper will turn solid black at a much lower temperature. You can help protect the safe and help your odds by placing it in a closet (so it is already partly protected from direct flame), and ideally on a concrete slab (so it receives no heat from below).

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: small, fire, safe, for, papers, hard, drives, etc

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