Do Fire Safe Safes Protect against Wildfires?

Discussion in 'Main Message Board' started by centershot, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. centershot

    centershot Silver $$ Contributor

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    Does anyone have any ideas if the fire safe safes will protect in the catastrophic wild fires?
     
  2. olddav

    olddav

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    Fire safes are rated to endure “X” temp for “Y” duration (time) as I’m sure you know. Now all you need to determine is how hot does any anticipate fire get.
     
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  3. centershot

    centershot Silver $$ Contributor

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    Am looking for personal or second hand experience. Not formulas.
     
  4. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

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    I bet the boss knows somebody who put em to the test over the past couple years
     
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  5. lb-ft

    lb-ft

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    Formulas certainly have their place. However, my first hand experience having lived through a massive Oklahoma wildfire, is that nothing surrounded by fuel survived. The fire burned the branches off green oak trees, boiled the sap and caused the bark to fall right off what was left of the trunks. Tractors, vehicles, gun safes melted. Iron engine blocks survived but the steel bodies and frames melted. 380 structures burned to the ground. It looked like a war zone.

    In a separate incident, my brother had a minor fire in his home. TONS of smoke though. His guns inside the safe had ruined blue finishes. Safe wasn’t completely airtight and the caustic fumes and smoke did extensive damage.
     
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  6. Rsadams

    Rsadams

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    As someone who's been through it , the answer is no.... It's not rated normally for anything but a short fire... A forest fire and EVERYTHING burning down is not a short process , it was a month before we could get back in so it stayed burning for awhile... Normal protection is about 30 minutes , most safes use cheap stuff like sheetrock inside for fire protection , it will survive a short time and even if it does the stuff inside will not be perfect anymore... Just smoke damage is horrible...

    Lb-ft... 1700 structures and 35,000 acres here , I know what you mean about the war zone comment... They filmed a few movies here afterwards because it looked like the end of the world.... No words can describe it... Nothing survived.....
     
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  7. olddav

    olddav

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    Formulas are all you’ve got as all systems can be overwhelmed. Fire safes provide a level of protection for the contents for a period of time. Usually long enough for the fire department to get there and start applying water to try and save the home. No safe can protect its contents indefinitely. Apply enough heat to any container and the heat will be transferred to the contents. The formula will give you a way to compare different models.
    But I suspect I’m not telling you anything new.
     
  8. mike a

    mike a 6BR Rocks Gold $$ Contributor

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    I'm thinking if a wildfire goes through that can melt cars what do you expect to return to? A lone safe standing in a pile of ashes that was once EVERYTHING else? Mike
     
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  9. joshb

    joshb Gold $$ Contributor

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    Yes. Once you place them in an underground concrete bunker.
     
  10. bluealtered

    bluealtered Silver $$ Contributor

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    The wildfires here burn hot enough to either melt large boulders or simply explode them to dust, they also burn hot enough to sterilize the ground 2ft down. Since your safe is steel and as stated above, wildfires can melt steel then don't count on your firearms being ok.
     
  11. XTR

    XTR

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    It's not the wildfire that's the problem, it's the fuel load around the safe. The closer to the center of the house the longer it's going to be exposed.
     
  12. liljoe

    liljoe Silver $$ Contributor

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    I remember seeing some pics of exactly that. Everything gone except some chimneys and some gun safes. Almost every one of them was burned completely inside. Just search for pics on oogle.
     
  13. liljoe

    liljoe Silver $$ Contributor

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    What house?
    Screenshot_20191127-082818.png
     
  14. shoobe01

    shoobe01

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    Formulas are more trustworthy than individual anecdotes. They give you a generally applicable story to pursue vs pure guesswork and confirmation bias.

    If you use the formula properly. In this case, we're almost always lied to. There is no fireproof rating for /gun/ safes. The rating is for piles of paper in the safe. And, not perfect preservation but just being usable still. Scorched edges are fine for reading documents, spending cash, etc.

    Guns are very different and as much as we think they are clearly stronger than paper, they aren't. 30 minutes of 1500° fire rating is more like 10 minutes for your guns, and optics.

    The answer for security (and fire protection is security) is always to add layers. Normally, one layer is smoke detectors, another is the fire department. But mass fires like this make that moot. So, if you may need to keep things secure in a fire with no exterior protection then think about adding more layers of protection to it:
    • Fireproof rooms. For the extreme issues with the fire intensity, it's unlikely to work well to simply add more fireboard to a room, but concrete underground rooms can work, and I know several folks who have added storm shelters, buried CONEX, or built a sealed-off room to the side of the basement for much this purpose. In a fire you won't want to be in the room, so do keep the fire safe in there for the fragile/valuable things, and it stands a good chance.
    • External and away from combustable materials. In normal rural settings (considering single structure fires) a common piece of advice is to place fire safes against an outside wall, such that as the building collapses the fire safe falls away from the structure, lays in the yard to reduce the time under heat. Another method is literally external, such as refurbing a remote storm shelter, but that has break-in security issues possibly. If you think of the advice to clear brush from around the home, now consider the home itself a fuel source. Where do you place the fire-proof box then?
     
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  15. Uthink Uknow

    Uthink Uknow Gold $$ Contributor

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    Okay you win Li’l Joe. How’d you burn down all those houses and the evergreen are still green?
     
  16. Jeff A

    Jeff A Formerly known as BikeEffects Gold $$ Contributor

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    I have a good friend who lives in Santa Rosa, CA. He bought a high dollar, "Best Brand" high fire rating safe. During the fires there two years ago he lost every gun. Pretty sad. It changed the way that I think about fire ratings.
     
  17. jsn

    jsn

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    The short answer is no, they don't. They a have a rating, but any prolonged fire where they are exposed will not save the contents.
     
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  18. argrendel

    argrendel Silver $$ Contributor

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    My buddy lost his house during a storm with 50 mph gusts. 10 minutes fully engulfed, very hot fire! The steam from the fire hoses does as much damage as the fire. His son had his favorite rifle, Cooper, in his bedroom. The never even found the barrel. Must have been there somewhere..
    They bought a new safe. I believe they are encasing it in Sheetrock and 8”x8” timbers sitting on Crete. Hoping to slow the heat down if there is another fire.
     
  19. Bill K

    Bill K Silver $$ Contributor

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    I heard of and did know one party, with good name brand safes, that went through the fire in Paradise, Ca (major one) and they contents were ruined. But that fire was intense and did a total of the town, if you recall the news reports.
     
  20. Doug Beach

    Doug Beach Silver $$ Contributor

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    It sounds like the question to ask, is, does anyone know of a stand alone gun safe where the contents survived a catastrophic house fire?
     

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