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josephsbs

Electronic Fire Resistant Safe

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Hi All, I'm looking for a fire resistant safe with digital lock with the following qualities:

  • Fire resistant for 1 (or more) hour
  • Internal volume big enough to store files/folders holding my whole family's certificates and important documents, and some valuables (planning to hire a maid soon)
  • Electronic/digital lock
  • Override key (some called it masterkey)
  • Local warranty

Anyone has lobangs and recommendations?

I've checked out some of the popular brands and websites, seems like most digital fire safes don't come with override keys. All their sales staff told me digital safes don't come with override keys nowadays, unlike the traditional combination lock ones. They say if digital lock spoil, can engage the vendor's technical staff to help open/replace the defective part. What I'm afraid is, what if lock sway sway spoil on the day (or day before) I'm flying out and can't get vendor to come timely? My thought is, problem solved if got override key :-)

What's your views on the override key?

 

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back to share my findings over the past few weeks of search and running around... for those who are looking for the same thing :)


Diplomat fire safe...


went down to a shop selling lots of Diplomat safe at Toa Payoh Central, claims to be part of GRUPP. quite a few safes there with a few brands (including Next and Premier). bad news is, none of their digital safes has override key feature.

sales staff told me most digital fire safe don't come with override key, including all of theirs.

sigh... left disappointed.


Yale fire safe...


went down to a few places like Mustafa, NTUC, etc. and didn't see what I wanted. called Yale seller Teck Tai Hardware and was told by their sales staff that none of Yale fire safe has override key feature.

sigh... disappointed, cos i kinda like this brand.


Hercules fire safe...


checked out their website information, don't seem to mention anywhere that their safes come with override keys. didn't call them to confirm though.


SentrySafe...

saw a few models at SelfFix DIY shop and also checked the internet.

seems like SentrySafe has some models that fit my requirements but not brought into Singapore.


Savco fire safe...

http://www.savco.com.sg/ (website under construction)

saw a few of these at SelfFix DIY at Jurong Point... ok, now i'm excited cos sales staff told me both savco combi and digital fire safes comes with override key. too bad there wasn't a didital model there to confirm, but that's already great news.

went online to search for savco's website, it's currently down so gotta call their sales number... hooray! sales staff confirmed the good news and gave me a list of places (including Causeway Point & IMM) i could see their safes savco "in person". they're currently running a promotion till 30 Nov (tomorrow). ok, sure, will definitely go check them out.


found them at IMM, their small booth is located near Burger King. heh heh... confirmed! savco's digital fire safes comes with override keys and quality is not bad too. current promo is 20% discount from RRP.

think i've done enough running around so mai-tu liow... reserved one on the spot... whahahaha

still contemplating whether to get the ESD680K or 105K... hmmm. must decide by tomorrow :deal:


savco1_zps6bd608fc.jpg

savco2_zpscab31fed.jpg

savco3_zps752b32a6.jpg


extra note:

someone asked me whether I've considered buying online from Amazon or Qoo10.

hmmm... personally, i'm not comfortable buying something so expensive and this huge from online shops, plus worried about aftersales service. what if lock is defective, can't possibly send it back for servicing right.

Edited by josephsbs
 

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Received some PM so tot I'll share the information here...

Some things to consider when choosing a home safe:

(a) First question must be... what do you want to protect?

This will affect the size of the suitable safe; consider both internal volume and external dimensions if you've got the space for your items.

If you want to put A4 sized documents such as educational/professional certificates (don't forget the size of files they're in), you'll need a safe with a reasonably large internal dimensions.

If for only passports and some smallish valuables like watches and jewellery, that'll require something much smaller.

(b) What level of protection you want?

Need to be fire and water resistant? Or just from hands will do? All depends on your needs/wants.

If you want your documents to be intact even after a house fire (touch wood), then you'll have to get those with fire/water ratings, whose internal dimensions are usually much smaller that its external size due to the thick protective walls.

Fire safes are usually tested and certified to withstand a certain amount of time, such as 1/2 hour, 1 hour, 2 hours, etc. at a specified temperature.

In the UK the BS EN-1047 standard is set aside for data and document safes to determine their ability to withstand prolonged intense heat and impact damage. E.g. fire safes are designed to maintain an internal temperature no greater than 177 °C while in a constantly heated environment in excess of 1,000 °C.

Water protection? Many fire rated safes are also rated as water resistant (not all), a benefit derived from door gaskets. These gaskets should help keep your papers from getting wet when the fire fighters douse the safe to put out the fire.

For protection from hands (e.g. maids or guests), a normal security safe box would suffice. As these usually have walls of approximately 4 to 6 mm thick, they could be much smaller than a fire rated safe whose walls could easily be more than 4 cm thick, suppose if you want to put the same files and folders inside. These are of course much cheaper, less bulky but more portable than the fire rated heavy monsters.

© Locking system or type of lock(s)
There're many types/variations of locking systems in the market but generally, modern home safes nowadays could be summarised as follows:

(i) Combination lock with key ... these are around for ages and remain one of the most secure despite their less convenient nature. I've used one of these in the past and found it a chore to "turn-n-turn turn-n-turn", sometimes wondering if I've gotten the combinations correct when safe door can't open. Another matter is, all of these come with prefixed combinations from manufacturer, and will cost a bomb if we want to customise the numbers (some manufacturers can offer that service). Good news is, many safes with these locks come with a override key (aka masterkey). But we can't possibly be using the override key all the time right?

(ii) Only digital lock ... the most convenient of all as it requires only require the PIN to open, but the relatively less secure. When someone discovers your PIN (say you wrote it down somewhere like what many people do with their computer passwords), safe is no longer safe. My personal worry on such locks is, what if the digital lock unit becomes defective when we need to open the safe? No problem, says the dealers/sellers. Their technical staff can come down to open the safe and replace the defective digital lock unit, it will cost some monies and also some time. Time! How soon can they come over? One dealer even say their technical staff needs to do drilling open the door with specialised equipment, then replace the damaged door. I was like... gosh!

(iii) Digital and key lock ... more secure than the "only digital" locks as these usually require both the PIN and key to open, something like the 2-factor authentication. i.e. safe can't be opened even if someone has the PIN but not the key, or found the key but doesn't know the PIN. However, we still can't open the safe when the digital lock unit becomes defective, or forgets the pin (there's a way to reset the PIN but needs to go thru a identification verification process). We need a "Lifesaver" in such situations.

(iv) Digital and key locks with override key ... same as (iii) but comes with a special key that can bypass both digital and key locks. This is the "Lifesaver" when digital lock unit becomes defective, or when we forgets the PIN. Plug in the override key and we can open the door without entering the PIN. Important issue here is, the override key must be securely kept and must never be found by unauthorised persons. IMO, best to keep the override key at a secure/trusted off-site location (e.g. trusted close relative's place), in case the maid finds it while cleaning the house. That relative must not have keys to the house.

(v) "Biometric" fingerprint technology ... biometric fingerprint safes uses fingerprint recognition technology to allowing easy access. Some models comes with ability to "authorise" multiple fingerprints, with variations to include a digital lock, combination lock and key, or both. Depending on security features on the safe, some could be designed for fingerprint as override access, i.e. our finger replaces the override key. Sounds really good, but this technology usually comes with a higher price tag.

(d) Concealment and mounting

Some people say it's very important to hide the safe and mount it securely to the wall/ground.

For a smallish security safe (e.g. like those we see in hotel rooms), definitely necessary to bolt it to secured points. Else the safe becomes a portable box where someone could simply remove it, then settle to problem of opening the safe at their premises. Same applies to safe that weighs just few tens of kg, where they can be easily removed by hand and a trolley.

It's probably a different story for those large sized and very heavy fire safes. Take the ESD-105K for example, it has an external dimension of 72cm x 50cm x 57cm, and weights 130kg when empty (heavier when loaded). Physically, it is too big to hid inside a normal wardrobe/closet unless we customise the furniture to fit it in. Hiding the big and heavy monster is also quite a challenge, especially in a HDB flat. Some people hide it inside the storeroom, some inside the kitchen, some in the bedroom while some simply place it at the corner of living room. But if we hide it totally out of sight, it may become very inconvenient for our own access. Furthermore, a burglar would have searched every room and open every piece of furniture when he/she breaks into a HDB flat, it isn't that big a property. It's probably much easier to hid it in a semi-detached or detached property or a bungalow where more space is available for "hide-n-seek". Weighing at least 130kg when loaded, it'll probably require at least 2-3 strong men with a heavy duty trolley to remove the safe. In such situation, mounting the safe becomes recommended but not critical. The safe could be placed on the floor, placed against and mounted to the wall if desired.

(e) What's your budget?

Last but not least, how much are you willing to pay for the protection you want?

A simple and small safe box for small items like passports and some jewellery could cost <$50 at places like NTUC or Giant, while a larger fire for A4 sized documents safe could easily set you back by around $1000, and more depending on size, protection, locking system and brand.

There's no standard or correct formula, a lot depends on your needs and how much you're willing to spend.

Have fun shopping :sport-smiley-018:

Edited by josephsbs
 

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