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Here are some of the ways they evaluate them: Fire resistance Fire is the No. The National Fire Protection Association says that during an average lifetime, there's a one in four chance of experiencing a household fire large enough to warrant calling the fire department.1 concern of most buyers, according to Greg Bonsib, director of brand management at Sentry Safe, a major manufacturer in Rochester, N. UL and Intertek rate fire-resistant safes in terms of what type of material they'll protect and how long they'll protect it.Computer disks and DVDs are even more sensitive, so if that's what you'll be storing look for a safe whose interior won't exceed 125 degrees.This information should be on the safe itself, and you might see it on the packaging as well.Other safes can be concealed in a wall or anchored in a concrete floor.Water resistance Protection against water tends to be an added feature of home safes that are also fire- or theft-resistant.A fairly common home-safe capacity is 1.2 to 1.3 cubic feet, which should easily accommodate a foot-high stack of 8½- by 11-inch papers, for example.Most home safes are designed to protect their contents from fire, theft, or both. We don't test safes here at Consumer Reports, but many are tested by independent organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Intertek (which uses the ETL mark).

Some safes are submerged to simulate the effects of a flood or broken water line.

What else to keep in it The table below lists some important documents you might want to keep in a safe.

And the Insurance Information Institute points out that a home safe can be a good place to store an inventory of your possessions...

If you buy online, don't forget to consider shipping costs, although free shipping might be available.

For a wider selection, and possibly more knowledgeable sales help, you can go to a store that specializes in safes.

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