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Firearms Accessories: Holsters, Safes, Lights & more If it locks up, carries, fits on to or cleans up your firearms, discuss it here.

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  #1  
Old 09-14-2021, 12:49 PM
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Default Fire Safes Not Actually Fire Proof

In the context of the Caldor Fire I am reading and hearing that almost without exception everyone's safes and contents were cooked. Did not matter the brand, Fort Knox, Liberty, or any other.

The challenge the temps are 3,000+ degrees and burned for extended periods of time.

Most high end safe ratings are about 1500 degrees and perhaps 90-120 minutes.

The reports are that this was the case (safes and in particular contents fried) in all of the wildfires we have had the past few years.

One person who works as post-event responder to these events said he had never seen a safe and contents survive.

If the safe is still in one piece, everything inside is melted or burned to ash.

I have wondered about this - and apparently now have my confirmation.

I considered the possibly of building a cinderblock room lined with RockWool insulation, to house my safe and but unfortunately my ground floor/basement ceilings are too low.

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  #2  
Old 09-14-2021, 12:57 PM
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This thread come up every year we have fires...

If you are in the sticks or if you surround your home with trees and shrubs... like Malibu... then the fire department cant help a lot



--If you break the law- please don't blame me--

Friends in Santa Cruz have a 1950s era home.... and he purchased and installed 4 sprinklers in his garage. The sprinklers were absolutely not to code.... no permit was pulled....

He tied into a hose bib and ran 1/2" copper around the garage and installed the 4 sprinklers...



Years later painters left rags in the garage and a fire started... sprinklers put out the fire before the fire department showed up.

He was cited for having a sprinkler system that was not to code. He opted to pay the fine and disconnect the system as sprinklers are NOT required.

After the inspection, he re connected the sprinklers....


the sprinklers save a completely restored fastback mustang... and his home....





--

for those living in the sticks-

You could build a Cement box around your RSC.... add rockwool inside.
Have a sliding door made from sheet metal and 2 layers of 5/8" drywall to close off the RSC

As we are in Earthquake country, you could have 2 to 4 55 gallon HDPE drums of emergency water on top of the RSC.

When the fire hits, now 100- 200 gallon of water is released....


You can do sprinklers... Permitted or not... if the water is on, the sprinklers will help



a decent perimeter around your home is the first part for safety.... Criminal will hide in bushes around the home... keep the area around your home clear of bushes and junk...
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Last edited by hermosabeach; 09-14-2021 at 1:09 PM..
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  #3  
Old 09-14-2021, 1:12 PM
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https://www.ebay.com/itm/29421928033...Cclp%3A2334524

https://www.ebay.com/itm/18478199155...gAAOSwJw5e~WuQ


If you do a sprinkler system in your garage-- where most fires that kill houses start....

make sure you have a shut off valve for the sprinklers..... sound obvious... but many sweat the copper and forget the ball valve...
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Rule 4 -BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT IS BEYOND IT
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  #4  
Old 09-14-2021, 11:20 PM
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That sounds like a great idea about the sprinklers. Ridiculous that your friend got cited, that's some bull****.

Unfortunately to get even some decent fire protection you are looking at a crap ton of money.
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Old 09-15-2021, 1:16 AM
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Also most safes aren’t safes. Rather they are just residential security containers. My Liberty looks nice but I know sadly it really isn’t a safe.
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Old 09-15-2021, 7:57 AM
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Burned safe contents are a sad sight.
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Old 09-15-2021, 8:13 AM
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Nothing is fire-proof, theft-proof, or anything else "proof".

They are resistant and the resistance has limits.
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  #8  
Old 09-15-2021, 8:22 AM
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Saw a video of a man two streets behind me open his small floor safe after his house burned to the ground during the 2018 Woolsey fire.

A few things were charred but survived, most survived mostly intact.
It was a small 2x2x2 foot cube type safe, mfr unknown.
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  #9  
Old 09-15-2021, 8:41 AM
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Default shocked

Quote:
Originally Posted by glock17_1986 View Post
That sounds like a great idea about the sprinklers. Ridiculous that your friend got cited, that's some bull****.

Unfortunately to get even some decent fire protection you are looking at a crap ton of money.
It was in Santa Cruz.... those commies nailed him with a fine...


They could have said- good job- now make it code...

nope Fined and order to resolve...

Union Job to install the fire system
Black Iron Pipe
A lot of dedicated systems


His copper worked fine... its true if it got hot... the copper joints could fail as the water/ pipe and solder could heat up....


But... the plastic tip melts and the sprinklers start way before that occurred
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Rule 1- ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED

Rule 2 -NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY (including your hands and legs)

Rule 3 -KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET

Rule 4 -BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT IS BEYOND IT
(thanks to Jeff Cooper)
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  #10  
Old 09-15-2021, 11:45 AM
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While nothing might help in an extreme fire, keep in mind that there are differences in the manufacturers "gun safe" fire ratings.

None have a UL fire certification that I am aware of and many manufacturers make up their own testing procedures and ratings. I would be very leery of those.

There is one company that tests products that seems to be where the "standard " is when it comes to these fire ratings. Look for an Intertek - ETL Laboratories label on your safe. They don't create any testing standards, but use the UL standards for their tests.

The attached graph is from a recently retired AMSEC engineer that had a lot to do with their construction and testing over the years. I have no reason to believe the graph is not accurate and we all realize who their "competitors" likely are. He wasn't going to name names.

This was from 2018, but probably still applies.

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Old 09-15-2021, 1:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hermosabeach View Post
As we are in Earthquake country, you could have 2 to 4 55 gallon HDPE drums of emergency water on top of the RSC.

When the fire hits, now 100- 200 gallon of water is released....

I'm guessing you don't realize its possible to hard-boil an egg in a styrofoam cup of water placed directly into a camp fire.

My prediction is you would get some minor water spillage from the water boiling over and that's about it.
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Old 09-15-2021, 1:51 PM
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I skipped the RSC rated nonsense and went with a 6,000lb TL-30 rated monster made of leverite, as in leave 'er right there because, it ain't going anywhere. I even put in in the garage as a dare for any potential burglars, if they can get in it or take it, they earned the guns I have in there.
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Old 09-15-2021, 2:27 PM
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Most offer 1/2 hour at 1200 degrees. The hope is the FD will arrive and put out the fire before your stuff burns inside the safe. The best protection is a sprinkler system in your house with extra nozzles around the safe. Don't fall for the cheapie plastic pipe sprinkler system. If you are near wildfire country mount sprinklers under your eaves.
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Old 09-15-2021, 2:31 PM
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If you have a pool wd40 firearms vac seal and wrp in sheets and dump in pool
or dump wjhole safe in pool if you cannot take them with you.
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Old 09-15-2021, 2:44 PM
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Default HDPE

Quote:
Originally Posted by mej16489 View Post
I'm guessing you don't realize its possible to hard-boil an egg in a styrofoam cup of water placed directly into a camp fire.

My prediction is you would get some minor water spillage from the water boiling over and that's about it.
Plastic barrels - plastic baby
HDPE
High
Density
Polyethylene

Drinking water - buy new

Water to help cool a safe - used food or shampoo barrels for $20 each
__________________
Rule 1- ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED

Rule 2 -NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY (including your hands and legs)

Rule 3 -KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET

Rule 4 -BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT IS BEYOND IT
(thanks to Jeff Cooper)

Last edited by hermosabeach; 09-15-2021 at 2:57 PM..
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Old 09-15-2021, 8:48 PM
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Sometimes they work….No, not always, and nobody advertises the failures, but…sometimes they work.


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Old 09-15-2021, 9:14 PM
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With a major enough fire, all your guns will be rusted to hell anyway. Don't overthink it, let insurance cover your behind.
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Old 09-16-2021, 9:03 AM
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Happened to me during the Tubbs fire in 2017. I had an AmSec BF series safe which didn't do jack and everything inside was a total loss. On top of that, they wouldn't honor the fire "warranty" to replace the safe after a fire because I couldn't provide the serial number. Which was on a sticker. Inside the safe. Melted/burnt up and gone.

Obviously the safe was not designed to withstand a total loss type house fire burning that hot/long and I harbor no ill feelings towards AmSec for that, but the warranty thing really pisses me off. I will never buy another one of their safes and will try to convince anyone not to by one any chance I get for the rest of my days.

Ft. Knocks on the other hand did much better. I saw one cracked open with everything inside perfectly intact. They replaced the safe under warranty with no issues whatsoever.

Last edited by dgc357; 09-16-2021 at 9:06 AM..
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Old 09-16-2021, 9:37 AM
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Our home was built this year so it has the mandatory sprinklers-everywhere...
Still have no faith in water migration into it even though the safe is “waterproof”

I took 34 guns and all important docs with us when we were evacuated, leaving some rifles and pistols behind due to lack of space.

2 of them were Kimbers..
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Old 09-21-2021, 2:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tradecraft View Post
With a major enough fire, all your guns will be rusted to hell anyway. Don't overthink it, let insurance cover your behind.
Homeowners and NRA firearms insurance is pretty nominal. I will probably seek out higher limits through the NRA program.
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  #21  
Old 09-22-2021, 7:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hermosabeach View Post
Plastic barrels - plastic baby
HDPE
High
Density
Polyethylene

Drinking water - buy new

Water to help cool a safe - used food or shampoo barrels for $20 each
The point he was making is that water boils at 212 degrees.

The HDPE melts at a much higher temperature than 212 degrees.

HDPE that is in contact with water at 212 degrees will not melt, until the water (even though it's boiling) stops cooling the plastic from the 500+ ambient temp down to the 212 degree temp of the water.

Once the water boils off, the HDPE temp will rise to the ambient temp of 500+ ... unfortunately too late for the "sprinkler" effect you were hoping for. You can probably melt a small hole in a HDPE barrel with a propane torch, but that's a much more concentrated heat source which will apply heat faster than the water can carry it away through boiling. There are probably residential fire scenarios that could produce the same effect, but that's purely hypothetical. This would be a great one to see the Mythbusters test.

Now, if your safe is surrounded by concrete, and you have large pipes embedded which are open at the top, or have a pressure relief valve, which are full of water... then as the surrounding concrete heats up to 212, the water in the pipes starts to boil... this keeps the concrete at just above 212 degrees until the water has boiled off, which buys you that amount of time. You'd have to work something out for a door, no doubt that could be done, not an inconsequential effort though.

I like the idea another poster suggested : When fire danger looms, vacuum seal the guns in mylar bags. If forced to evac, once the car is loaded and you're ready to leave, toss the sealed guns in the pool. Worst case scenarios are a leaky bag, or someone gets to them before you are able to get back - both fairly unlikely but possible. Better odds than just leaving them in an RSC and hoping for the best.
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Last edited by bruss01; 09-22-2021 at 7:30 AM..
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  #22  
Old 09-24-2021, 9:49 AM
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Have 2 friends who lost homes in Malibu to fires. Both had safes...everything inside them was toast. Both had to get safes "cracked" open buy a guy.
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