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For example, safes rated to protect paper documents shouldn't get any hotter than 350 degrees on the inside during a fire, according to John Drengenberg, consumer safety director at UL in Northbrook, Ill.
If you plan to store old tape recordings or 35mm slides, however, you'll want a safe that's rated not to exceed 150 degrees inside, he says.
Dale Soos, an engineer with Intertek, says his organization confers a "verified" mark on safes that meet their manufacturers' criteria for water resistance.
Many safes also come with bolt-down kits, a further deterrent to thieves in a hurry.
A TL-15 rated safe, for example, can withstand an attack of at least 15 minutes using common tools.
While most home safes don't carry a rating for burglary resistance, they do, as a practical matter, provide some protection. Mc Goey, a security consultant in Los Angeles, says that burglars generally go for what they can grab in one run through a house.
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.
For home safes, 30 minutes of protection is most common, although you can also find safes that offer one or more hours' worth, typically with higher price tags.