Having everything you need in an emergency in one place is ideal. Keep a safe in the home to secure your gear, weapons and important documents for quick access in any emergency. Set it up in a family friendly location and make sure those who need to gain access have all the proper codes and passkeys, which should not be obvious but not too hard to recall under stress. Choose a safe with adequate anti-theft capabilities as well as high fire-resistant qualities; look for good RSC and UL ratings when buying.


There is no way to permanently secure your guns and other valuables from theft. Given enough time, a thief can break into even the most secure vault. The independent testing lab Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL), however, offers a variety of tests to help consumers gauge the level of protection a locking container offers.

ANTI-THEFT TECH: For most consumer-grade products, the base level of protection is listing as a Residential Security Container (RSC). For higher-end products, additional UL ratings may be earned. For example, a TL-15 safe will offer 15 man-minutes of protection against hand and electric tool attacks. Additional ratings can indicate resistance to torch and explosive attacks.

Some companies choose not to have their products evaluated by UL. This does not mean the products are not secure. Some within the industry consider the RSC listing to be a weak standard and not worth the substantial cost of having testing done. A few companies keep their safe designs secret from even UL as an increased level of protection for clients.

FIGHT THE FLAME: Safes can be made fire resistant to protect the contents. However, there are wide variations on how safes are rated. Additionally, the contents will be affected differently depending on what the stored items are.

Typically, fire resistance will be shown as a time period at a specific external temperature. For example, a rating might be 90 minutes at 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. The generally accepted standard is that the internal temperature will not go above 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help protect paper documents, as paper will not char until it reaches 405 degrees Fahrenheit. However, other items, including guns and computer media, may be damaged at temperatures below 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

For More Information

Browning Hunter HR26; 800-333-3288

Brown Safe Estate Model 7256; 760-233-2293

SecureIt FAST BOX Falcon; 800-651-8835

LockSAF PBS-DigiSWIPE; 877-568-5625

Cannon Commander 43; 800-222-1055

GunVault SpeedVault SVB 500; 800-242-1055

Sportsman Steel Safes Heavy Duty Handgun Safe; 800-266-7150

Winchester Safes Legacy Premier 53; 877-948-6723

Sentry Safe Guardian Storage Box; 800-828-1438

Hornady RAPiD Safe; 800-338-3220

Gardall Safe Corp. Model 1812/2; 800-722-7233

Heracles Research CouchBunker; 214-618-1368

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Winter 2016 edition. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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