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Safes and Safety Ratings- What do They Mean?


For the best protection from fire and burglary, look to a Winchester gun safe. This year is Winchester's 20th anniversary, and it sure deserves that traditional diamond for all it has accomplished. Winchester developed the fist UL listed gun safe along with their unique laser cut door. They started in Fort Worth, Texas, and are still located there today. Winchester is built on innovation, quality, and service, and are committed to continuing in the strong tradition they have built so far.

2010 has been a great year for Winchester. They continue to be one of the highest rated companies for security from even the most extreme burglary and fire attack. This year, they have implemented even higher Fire Ratings and UL Burglary ratings on all their models under the Residential Security Container code.

They have also introduced the new Supreme Series, available in two sizes. They include composite doors with 1/4 inch plate steel and a 2 hour fire rating. UL fire resistance testing is a rigorous process. Tests may include a fire endurance test, a fire and impact test, an explosion hazard test and a combined explosion and impact test. The rating the product receives comes from its performance in these tests.

Records and documents are some of the most common items kept in safes for protection from fire and burglary. These documents often include paper records, microfilm, CD's, DVD's, and originals of any documents. Because these items have different reactions to heat, UL tests cover three different temperatures and five different time durations. The temperature on the UL label is the maximum temperature the items inside the safe were exposed to during the testing. The time on the label is how long the safe was tested to withstand exposure to high temperature and still was able to maintain an acceptable temperature inside. The time lengths vary from 1/2 hour to 4 hours. These times do not indicate the total time of the tests.

After the required time and temperature have been reached, the testing furnace is turned off, and the test product allowed to cool. During this time, which can take near 70 hours, the test product continues to absorb heat, and the interior temperature can continue to increase significantly. To receive the UL label, products must stay below the 125 degrees/80% humidity level during the entire process of heating and cooling. When the cooling process has been completed, the items inside are examined and judged as to usability.

The fire and impact test is conducted after a product has passed the fire endurance test. It is heated to a specific temperature for a set duration, then immediately removed and dropped from a height of thirty feet onto a pile of broken brick, equal to the pressure from a fall from a building's third story. After impact, the product is examined for any signs of rupture, splitting or opening into the interior. After impact and cooling process, the product is re-heated and again examined.

The explosion test is required for all products in order to receive a UL award. In this test, the product is placed in a furnace at 2000 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty minutes. If there is no explosion, the product is then allowed to cool in the furnace. After cooling, it is examined for heat or moisture damage on the interior finish, insulation, security or interior equipment, and locks. If there is an explosion, well, no UL award.

Winchester safes are champions of these tests. The two hour fire rating means that Winchesters are heated to 1850 degrees fahrenheit, while still protecting the items inside. All Winchester safes come with a lifetime warranty against fire damage and burglary, and all locks come with a one-year warranty, and a nine year warranty is available for a nominal charge.

Through all the tests and 20 years of experience, Winchester is a clear choice when it comes to protecting your valuables. They provide safe storage for gun collections, bonds, important documents, family heirlooms, and anything else you need protected. The attractive exterior ensures it will not infringe on the style of your home, no matter where it is placed.