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Fire-Ratings Rundown

Since we did a run-down on burglar safe ratings, I thought it might be a good idea to do a rundown on fire-safe ratings. As with burglar ratings, the UL is THE authority for trustworthy ratings, although there are several other authorities that also provide ratings to a range of safes. Because of its prevalence and industry standard, we’re only going to look at UL ratings.  

The basic ratings for UL fire-safes are Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E. To get these ratings the UL conducts a series of tests on the safe including a Fire Endurance Test, an Explosion Hazard Test, and a Fire Impact Test.

The Fire Endurance Testmeasures the degree of resistance in which the safe has to high-heat temperatures, ranging from1500 degrees F to 2000 degrees F. After going through testing, the contents of the safe (generally paper) must be usable and handle-able without breaking to achieve a certain rating.


Class A 4 hours 2000 degrees Fahrenheit
Class B 2 hours 1850 degrees F
Class C 1 hour 1700 degrees F
Class D 1 hour 1700 degrees F
Class E 30 minutes 1550 degrees F


The Explosion on Hazard Testmeasures whether or not the design of a safe protects the contents of the safe in the case of a sudden, high-heat explosion. Sometimes in explosions, the high-temperature will cause hydrogen-air-stram mixtures in the insulting material to explode and rupture the insulation and safe walls.  By testing the heat-sensitivity of a safe for 30 minutes at 2000 degrees F, the UL tests for explosion sensitivity.

The Fire Impact Test measures the resistance a safe has when in a heated condition and how it handles a fall of approximately 3 stories after being heated to a high temperature. After the fall, it is once again heated up and THEN the contents are checked.

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