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Fire Safes - 4 Important Points

Posted by   Alan Redd
03/01/2018
Fire Safes

Fire Safes, Data Safes - 4 Important Points To Remember

Data safes and fireproof cabinets are of increasing relevance particularly with the arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation which imposes heavy fines if data relevant to individuals isn't adequately protected.

This means when deciding on a fire cabinet, fire safe or fire resistant strong room to protect paper documents or data against fire, considerations such as certification, burglary protection and audited access control are essential. Avoiding addressing these issues professionally can now be a very costly mistake.


Here are the four most important points to remember when protecting data and documents against fire, burglary and data breach.


1. Identify what needs to be protected.

Paper, magnetic data, hard-drives, USB drives all have different degradation parameters in a fire. These degradation parameters need to be quantified and addressed by the chosen data safe, data cabinet or fireproof filing cabinet solution.

2. Assess the risk of structural collapse during a fire.

Various European and American fire resistance standards for fire cabinets and fire safes are tested for structural impacts as well as fire and heat resistance. It is important to assess if the structure in which the fire cabinet or fire safe is to be situated is likely to collapse during a fire to address this issue. Generally it is preferable to always choose a fire resistant unit that is impact tested but due to weight and building structure this may not always be practical or possible.

3. Identify the access control required.

Is the data to be held in the fire resistant cabinet, data cabinet, fire safe or fire resistant filing cabinet required to be held under restricted, audited access control? Under the General Data Protection Regulation all Paper files with personal information is required to be protected against unlawful destruction and unauthorised access. Furthermore there is a legal requirement to record who accessed the files, for what purpose and when. This information must be recorded and maintained as part of process.

This may also be a consideration for highly sensitive data, substances or documents.

4. Ensure You Are Getting Expert Advice:

As with all certified safes and vaults it is essential to get genuine expert advice before buying a fire safe, fire cabinet, data cabinet or fire resistant filing cabinet. This is of particular importance now that the General Data Protection Regulation has been introduced across the European Union.

There is a plentiful supply of people in the safe and vault industry with decades of experience doing the wrong thing and a sufficient level of both arrogance and ignorance to have no hesitation in calling themselves "experts".

  • A professional will have evidence of training and knowledge that is easily and quickly verifiable.

Alan Donohoe Redd M.Sec.I.I. is our chief specification officer for safes, data safes, data vaults, strong rooms and anti hold-up systems and will be happy to assist you.

Alan is a certified trainer for S&G Switzerland, an insurance industry lecturer, current convenor of the I.S.R.G. and a National Standards Authority of Ireland expert. Telephone: 01 7076011


Testing Standards


essa certification logo vds certification logo

European Standards EN 1047-1, EN 1047-2 and EN 15659

The requirements of European fireproof safe and cabinet testing include a fire endurance test in the course of which the temperature increase in the interior of the fireproof unit is measured as well as an additional impact test carried out on data safes and cabinets to simulate the impact of structural components in the course of a fire.

NT certification logo

The Swedish NT017 fire test mark may be applied to filing cabinets, data cabinets or diskette cabinets of identical construction to tested units provided that the external volume is not less than half of and not more than twice the volume of the tested cabinet. Therefore all cabinets certified NT017 are not necessarily fire tested. It should also be noted that NT017 does not include a drop test.

UL certification logo

The American UL certification is almost identical to European fire testing, however only units marked "impact tested" have been tested for impact of structural components .

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