With the holiday season just ending more and more homeowners are concerned about safety and security of their valuables. Many homeowners buy safes to protect documents and valuables from fire and theft. Although some fire safes offer sufficient security for valuables, not all security safes have maximum fire protection.

Fire safes designed for home use should at least provide protection for the contents of up to one half-hour at 1550 degrees F. Light commercial safes should provide the same protection for up to two hours.

According to Underwriters Laboratories, a standard fire should retain an inside temperature below 350 degrees F. This rating also includes requirements that the safe be resistant to rupture or explosion. The National Fire Prevention Association has found that a fire-rated safe performs four times better that a non-rated safe in a fire.

Security of a safe, beyond its fire protection, comes from a combination of retractable and stationary bolts that prevent the safe door from being removed by knocking off or removing the hinges. Regardless of the type of safe you buy unless it weight at least 500 pounds it should be bolted down.

Additional security can be provided if the safe also has a built-in key lock that function independently of the dial combination. This kind of safe also permits "KEY ONLY" access when necessary and provides double lock security at other times.

Another form of locking mechanism is an electronic digital lock in which the dial combination is replaced by a four digit, changeable, push button combination. The advantages are faster and easier access to contents without sacrificing overall security. This type of safe is great for senior citizens. Another type of safe is opened by the simple swipe of a credit card that you can program.

In addition to freestanding safes, there are safes that can be mounted in wall or sunk into concrete floors. However, it should be noticed that these safes are not fire-rated.