Security Info

Types of safes

Home safes, as the name suggests, are designed and manufactured for the domestic market. These safes are usually smaller in size and tend to be priced at the lower end of the scale. The main draw back is certainly the quality and this is reflected in the price. These safes are available from hardware stores, supermarkets and even service stations, however often they have little or no cash rating or fire rating. The home safes we sell usually have a maximum cash rating of approximately $10,000

Wall safes are very popular in the movies and there is a small market for them however they tend to be unpopular due to their low cash rating ($5,000-$8,000). The wall safe must be small enough to be hidden behind a picture etc and hence are constructed with this in mind. Wall safes are secured in place by bolting them into the studs inside a wall. Most houses built today use pine studs. This makes it very easy to tear the wall safe out

In ground floor safes offer good value and security because safe manufacturers can make the body (five sides) out of a lesser grade material and then beef up the head or lid of the floor safe. A professionally fitted floor safe can be almost impossible to find as well as offer some fire protection. Inground floor safes come in all sizes and qualities ( I even had one custom made that was almost a meter deep) from cheapies to the top end Floor safes which have cash ratings of around $50,000.

Deposit safes, which are designed for temporary storage of cash and allow deposits into the safe by way of deposit drawer or posting slot from the exterior but require two persons to open and remove the contents, for example – a security guard and management. Armoured car and cash collection companies have been using this system very effectively for many years. Although seen mainly in the fast food industry these safes are becoming more popular with business’s that deal in cash and are concerned about the threat of armed hold up.

Fire safes are designed to protect valuable business and personal paper records against fire. These safes are purpose built and Chubb Safes lead the field. Each RP cabinet has a testing label fixed showing which agency did the test and the type of test the cabinet has passed. A typical test is to heat the cabinet in a furnace for a specified period then drop the safe to simulate a floor collapsing and then reheat it again. Many manufacturers perform their own tests, though these can never be called ‘independent’.

Data Safes are similar to fire safes but are used to protect Micrographic media such as tapes or CD’s. They must, in the event of a fire, maintain a much lower internal temperature than a fire safe (less than 52deg Celsius – the point at which data media is destroyed) and also protect against other hazards such as high humidity, electro magnetic contamination, etc. Test ratings are applied in a similar way to those for fire safes however for a data safe, much more demanding test criteria are applied.

Gun safes are designed to protect firearms against theft and sometimes also include a fire resistant lining to provide limited protection against the threat of fire. Queensland has very specific laws relating to the storage of firearms. Gun safes must be built to equal or exceed these specifications

Key Cabinets or cabinets are designed for the storage of a large quantity of keys. Larger institutions that require the distribution and tracking of keys would typically install these. They range in size from 40-hook capacity up to 1000 or can be custom made to specific requirements.

Drug Safes (Dangerous goods safe) are for the safe storage of dangerous drugs or chemicals, as set out in the Queensland Health Act, which even specifies what lock etc, a drug cabinet must have as well as other minimum standards. Drug cabinets come in a variety of sizes

Safe Locks

Digital Electronic Safe Locks versus key locks and conventional combination locks.
Safes have been around for over 200 years with very little in the way of improvements until the last 50-75 years. The latest innovation in safe lock technology is only about 10 years old. That is the electronic digital combination lock. These locks feature vast improvements in ease of use, ease of changing the combination, convenience, access control and security.

Before the combination lock was invented, safes were designed as strong boxes that used keys to lock and unlock them. Key locks required a separate key for each person designated to lock or unlock it. Simply having access to the key and the safe at the same time granted that person access to the contents of the safe. If an unauthorized person gained access for the purpose of larceny, or simply if the key turned up missing, the lock had to be changed or re-keyed (to prevent the lost or stolen key from being used) and new keys issued to the authorized holders. This was often a very expensive and time-consuming proposition.

The main problem with key locks is the keys are often lost, misplaced or stolen. Combination locks eliminated this problem somewhat . The key was literally in a person’s head. If the combination was compromised it was a simple matter of changing the combination with the use of a special key called a “change key” security was then re-established in very short order.

The conventional combination lock required turning the dial a certain number of turns to the left to the first number then right to the 2nd number etc. etc. It was confusing, time consuming, tedious and very often required several tries to open the safe, even while following the written directions. Changing the combination was easier than replacing a number of keys but it did require some technical expertise or training and sometimes a special tool. There were no keys to misplace or be stolen so it was still better and very secure with it’s theoretical one million possible combinations.

Changing the combination usually required the services of a professional locksmith or safe technician to do the job right. Mechanical combination locks also require periodical maintenance to keep them operating smoothly and also to prevent the dreaded ‘failure related lock-out’. Lost combinations were common due to the fact that you usually had to remember or carry with you, a fairly complicated set of numbers and dialing instructions.

Along comes the digital lock and now all that is changed. Now you can open the lock as easily as using a push button telephone. Changing the combination is also that easy. The one million theoretical combinations (actually 400-500,000 usable combinations) of the conventional combo lock is a thing of the past, with a true “One Million” usable, settable combinations to choose from.
Easily remembered numbers can be set and changed at a moments notice, so the occurrence of lost combination lockouts is drastically reduced.

Even the greatest amount of physical force or safecracker’s manipulations will not defeat a digital lock, without knowing the correct combination, or being fully trained in proper, authorized opening methods. Digital locks have a “Penalty Lockout Mode” which activates after 4 wrong tries, and shuts down the keypad for 3 minutes after which time you get 1 more try or again the penalty is applied.

Some digital safe locks also have an enhanced set of optional features which control use by limiting access to certain times of the day and by certain specified users. They may also require dual combinations ( 2 People) time delay and time locking as well as audit trail features which record the time and user who has accessed the safe and are useful to businesses who have many employees as well as several levels of management that require access and control. For example – the ability to restrict a daytime employee’s access to the safe at night, is a very important feature to merchants and fast food restaurant operators, etc.

Most safe manufacturer’s offer Digital Electronic Locks as an option on most of the safes they build, It is generally cheaper to order it as an option on a new safe than it is to install it later on, but it is possible and we can fit a digital lock to just about any safe.