How do Fire Cabinets Work?

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Fire cabinets are excellent protectors of items that are vulnerable to fire and heat, but how exactly are they good for at keeping out the flames?

Resisting fire is actually a fairly basic process and fire resistant safes and strong boxes have been around for decades. Any material that won’t burn is fire resistant; even a wooden plank can resist fire when it is dipped in water. The real challenge is not in protecting against fire, it is in protecting against heat. Most objects don’t have to be touched by the flames of a house or office fire, they can be damaged by taking too much heat. If items like paper and electronics are kept in heat that is above 177 °C for too long they can be destroyed without an actual fire ever reaching them. Modern fire safes are designed to keep their contents under 177 °C for longer than a typical fire will burn around a particular area. If your safe or cabinet keeps the temperature down for longer than the fire lasts, your valuables are safe. But how do fire cabinets and safes actually work? Well there are three basic ways that fire safes keep out heat and fame:
  • They have properly sealed doors to keep out smoke that can damage valuables.
  • They have thick fire resistant walls that protect the safe from breaking apart or melting.
  • They are insulated with heat resistant materials to keep internal temperatures down.

Flame Resistant Metal

The first step in creating a fire resistant cabinet is to make it out of materials that won’t melt or become damaged when exposed to fire. If your safe can be melted or destroyed by a typical house fire, you’ve already lost. Fire cabinets like the Chubbsafes Archive M Fire Cabinet are designed with flame resistant steel so they will not melt in a typical house fire.

Thick and Properly Sealed

The next step in creating a fire resistant safe is designing one with thick walls and a properly sealed door. Thick walls will take longer to transfer heat to the inside of the container and a properly sealed door will keep out potentially damaging smoke. For instance, the large Chubbsafes Office 785E has thick walls and doors that not only protect contents from heat, but also make it difficult to break into.

Special Heat Resistant Materials

Finally, a heat resistant material is used to insulate safes in order to disperse heat and keep the inside cool. Minerals like perlite and vermiculite are often used to make insulation that is used in safes. These materials are incredibly heat resistant so they can keep internal temperatures under the heat limits for a long period of time. If you have a high quality safe, the manufacturer will probably use the techniques described above. If they do, you can rest assured that your valuables will be safe in the event of a fire.