WHY DO YOU NEED A SAFE?
First, it’s important to identify what the customer needs to protect (money, important documents, jewellery) in order to assess how large the safe needs to be. What is the maximum cash value of the items that will be stored inside? Where will the safe be installed? Will the customer need to deposit items or cash quickly and discreetly, thereby requiring a top or front loading rotary drum? Will the items require fire protection? These are just a few questions that need to be considered.
Getting clear on the exact requirements for the safe is the first step and will make the selection process a lot quicker, as we can quickly eradicate choices that don’t meet our customers’ needs.
DOES SIZE MATTER?
In practical terms – yes, size matters. If you need to store large electronic devices, A4 documents, medical supplies or other bulky items, you will need a larger safe or high security cabinet.
However, it’s important to know that size is not indicative of improved protection. In some instances, a smaller safe will offer a much higher level of security than a larger model. After addressing the practicalities of space, the customer then needs to work out the value of the items being stored in the safe. In many cases this will vary throughout the year, so the maximum value of the cash or items that will be stored overnight at any one point will need to be ascertained. If this requirement is met, the safe will provide sufficient protection for all possibilities. Safe manufacturers will ideally provide advised cash ratings for each safe as guidance for customers, who can then match it to their maximum cash value.
WHY THIEVES LIKE CASH
Thieves will much prefer stealing cash compared to valuables, as the value speaks for itself. Jewellery, for instance, will need to be sold to a buyer and, as a result of the necessary shady transactions, is often sold for a fraction of the price that would have been paid by the original owner. As a result, insurance underwriters usually multiply the cash value of jewellery by 10, so the equivalent cash limit of £6,000, for instance, would be insured for up to £60,000.
Safe models approved by the Association of Insurance Surveyors (AIS) means these products will be listed in the Official Safe List, which is used by many insurance companies nationwide, giving customers peace of mind as to the quality of the safe and the ease with which the contents will be insured.
HIGH STANDARDS IN EUROPE
Some safe suppliers, such as Securikey, are members of Eurosafe UK and will therefore be committed to supplying incredibly high quality, reliable safes that meet and often surpass industry standards. The common European standard for safes is EN1143-1 and in order to meet this standard, the safe will have passed a vigorous, independent test. This will be demonstrated on the safe with clear labelling and the appropriate security rating, although it is always best to check that the documentation actually uses the word ‘tested’, as other wording like ‘approved safe’ or ‘designed to meet European standards’ does not indicate an official test has taken place. All Securikey Euro Grade safes have been fully tested, with grades from 0 to 5 available offering cash ratings ranging from £6,000 and below up to £100,000 for Grade 5 safes.
If a safe is being used to store important documents such as wills, passports and death certificates, many choose to select a safe that offers fire protection in addition to security from theft. Securikey offers a variety of fire-resistant solutions that have been independently tested and certified, with the heavy duty models able to withstand temperatures of up to 950°C for an hour. This provides peace of mind because, ironically, safes will often contain documents such as insurance policies that would be required in the event of a fire. As with safes that meet European legislation standards, fire resistant safes will be clearly labelled to show they have been independently tested and certified to meet the criteria stated.
The safe’s location is very important, for a number of reasons. Opinions differ as to whether a safe should be situated in a public area, where both the safe itself and any attempts to break into it would be clearly seen, or if it should be hidden away where it is not easy for thieves to find – but where, if found, they could attempt to access the contents safe from prying eyes. As with any situation, each application will vary and the correct choice can be made according to individual circumstances with the guidance of the safe supplier.
However, there are certain aspects of an installation on which the safe supplier will not be authorised to advise, such as whether a floor is capable of bearing a certain weight. It is therefore the customer’s responsibility to ensure the floor is sturdy enough to support the weight of the safe being installed. It may also need to be strong enough for the safe to be bolted onto, which is usually a requirement for models under 1,000kg to ensure thieves don’t remove the entire safe. Base fixings must be used in order to ensure the safe installation meets the requirements outlined by insurance companies.
In terms of cost and time, an installation on floors above ground level may take longer and need specific equipment, particularly with larger safes, so this is another consideration that needs to be taken into account.
Lastly, it is important that the safe is fitted by a qualified team of safe installers to ensure the installation goes smoothly, quickly and offers the protection needed by the customer once complete. There are also Health and Safety regulations regarding the moving of heavy items which will need to be adhered to, including ensuring the installers are fully insured and the correct equipment is used.
Many safes come with a key lock as standard. A quality key lock can provide a high level of security, provided the keys are carefully safeguarded and not left in the premises when there is nobody present to watch the safe. Copying keys reduces security too, as thieves will have more opportunities to get their hands on a key if there are replicates lying around, so bear this in mind when considering who will need a key. It may be safer to share.
Locks that operate via a code remove the risk of damaged, lost or stolen keys. Combination locks provide a high level of security, depending on the intricacy of the code selected (obvious numbers such as the year of one’s birth, etc. are very much discouraged) and the fact that the number is not written down anywhere for a would-be criminal to find and use. For added security, the code can be changed at certain points during the year.
ELECTRONIC DIGITAL LOCKS
Electrical locks can range from the more simplistic, incorporating a few user codes and a time delay facility, to far more sophisticated locks that offer additional features that enable access to the safe to be carefully managed. These features include time delay override, dual combination, silent alarm, remote signal override, user group management, courier codes and duress codes. The complexity of the lock chosen will reflect the needs of the customer.
HOW TO CHOOSE A SAFE
Safe buyers guide
We wanted to create a guide to selecting your safe. When choosing the right safe, the key is to know what you’re looking for. Find out the right questions to ask with our easy safe buyers guide.
The first question to ask yourself is what do you need a safe for? What is going to be stored inside? Some possibilities include cash, jewellery, documents, electronics, and medical supplies.
That will then help you with the second questions, how big does it need to be for these items? Remember bigger does not necessarily mean better security.
To help work out what size you need you need to know what the maximum combined cash value of these item and then make sure that the safe has the appropriate cash rating.
Another question you need to ask yourself is does any cash need to be deposited quickly or discreetly? If yes then you may need a top or front loading rotary drum.
Once you have decided what is going to be stored inside and how big you need it to be the next question to answer is where will it be installed? Look at the area around and see if the floor can handle the weight, will it be in a public area or require base fixings. In addition make sure you check that the safe installers are trained and qualified.
When looking at whether you need fire protection look at what you are planning to protect. If you are storing papers like wills, passports, and instance certificates you will want to make sure that the safe offers the correct level of fire protection.
What lock do you want? The options range from key locks to combinations and electronic digital locks.
It’s also very important that you make sure that the safe has been tested to the official standard – EN 1143-1. If it has then it been quality approved by the association of insurance surveyors (Ais) and listed on the official safe list that is used by insurance companies.
Don’t trust words like “tested”, “approved safe”, or “designed to meet European Standards”. If this is the language being used then don’t buy it!