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To determine their burglary-resistance ratings, UL testers go at safes with tools, torches, and even explosives, Drengenberg says.A TL-15 rated safe, for example, can withstand an attack of at least 15 minutes using common tools.Water resistance Protection against water tends to be an added feature of home safes that are also fire- or theft-resistant.Dale Soos, an engineer with Intertek, says his organization confers a "verified" mark on safes that meet their manufacturers' criteria for water resistance.While most home safes don't carry a rating for burglary resistance, they do, as a practical matter, provide some protection. Mc Goey, a security consultant in Los Angeles, says that burglars generally go for what they can grab in one run through a house."Once they get their arms full," he adds, "they're out of there." A 1.2 or 1.3 cubic-foot safe probably weighs about 100 pounds empty, making it a less attractive target than jewelry, cameras, small electronics, and other more portable items a burglar might spot.Many safes also come with bolt-down kits, a further deterrent to thieves in a hurry.Other safes can be concealed in a wall or anchored in a concrete floor.
Computer disks and DVDs are even more sensitive, so if that's what you'll be storing look for a safe whose interior won't exceed 125 degrees.
1 concern of most buyers, according to Greg Bonsib, director of brand management at Sentry Safe, a major manufacturer in Rochester, N. UL and Intertek rate fire-resistant safes in terms of what type of material they'll protect and how long they'll protect it.
For example, safes rated to protect paper documents shouldn't get any hotter than 350 degrees on the inside during a fire, according to John Drengenberg, consumer safety director at UL in Northbrook, Ill.
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