Fire Resistance in Fort Knox Safes

We are getting a lot of questions about Fort Knox Safes lately, most of which are of interesting and/or controversial nature. Instead of answering all those questions by e-mail, we decided to create articles for them, since others may find it interesting as well.

Fort Knox Guardian Safes

The latest e-mail we received is about fire-proof capabilities of Fort Knox Safes. In this particular case, Fort Knox Guardian Safe  owner is wondering if his safe is fire-proof enough to sustain an extremely hot fire, like the one that happened several days ago in Colorado Springs. His main concern was the fact that there was nothing left of houses caught in fire.

Fort Knox Safe Fire Protection

To answer this question, first we need to know what type of fire protection Fort Knox Safe offers. You will be happy to know that Fort Knox Inferno Shield 90 comes as a standard option in ALL Fort Knox Safes. Not only that this Underwriters’ Laboratories Class Listed “C” rated fireboard insulation ensures a temperature under 350°F inside your safe, but it is installed on all sides of a safe to guarantee a lack of hot spots. Moreover, Fort Knox went an extra mile with a dead air space in their safes (again by default) to give ninety minutes long fire protection at temperature of 1680°F.

For customers looking for longer fire protection, there is an option of adding even more insulation (Inferno Shield 120) that gives a protection which can only be compared to commercial safes. With reinforced fire liner, fire protection is increased to up to two hours at 1680°F. However, adding additional fire protection will inevitably reduce the capacity of a safe, but only by little.

So, what does all this tells you?

Typical home fire temperature does not exceed 1500°F

Well, for starters, let’s assume you keep your safe in a bedroom or other typical in-house room. Depending on the combustibles, flame temperature will vary, but in general it would be in a range of 900°F to 1500°F. In this case, your Fort Knox Safe will be able to survive at least 90 minutes of this type of fire. What’s even more important is the fact that Fort Knox Safes come with a 350 fire resistant label. What this means is that inside temperature of your safe will be lower than 350°F for at least one hour, and if you keep valuable papers or similar material in your safe, it’s good to know that these papers will start to char above temperatures of 400°F.

Back to our original question – in cases of major fire disasters, experts have confirmed that:

  • Safes without any fire protection offered no protection at all and everything was lost
  • Safes without structural reinforcing of insulation kept safe everything stored in the bottom of the safe
  • Safes armed with thick reinforced fire lining survived a fire that burned a house to the ground, leaving valuables intact

Even though Fort Knox uses sheetrock insulators in their safes, which are considered inferior to ceramic wool blankets, Fort Knox again goes an extra mile in their assembly stage that gives an incredible fire protection. You see, in some cases sheet-rock is not as effective as some people think, because gypsum board (sheetrock) sometimes breaks apart and falls to the bottom of a gun safe, leaving the top of the safe vulnerable to hot spots. However, Fort Knox prevents this by additional step in their assembly stage with zig-zag stiches on the sheetrock, essentially creating a matrix-like insulation which keeps material in line.

Final Verdict

Despite the fact that there are so many variables in situations where a house is on fire, it seems that Fort Knox Safes are highly fire-proof and should sustain a total burnout of a house, especially if you decide to install Inferno Shield 120. But if the fire lasts more than 2 hours, chances of having your valuables safe start to decrease. Nonetheless, it is a fact that Fort Knox Safes offer one of the best fire protections available on the market.

Additional tips for increased fire protection

  • Install sprinkle system in a room where the safe is
  • Place your most valuable items in the bottom shelf of your Fort Knox Safe
  • Do not put your safe under a large wooden object (like stairs)
  • It’s generally a good idea to have another small fire-proof safe inside your big safe if you are worried about important documents

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