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Your basement could be better from a fire-protection standpoint; there's usually less down there to burn, Soos says.
But if your home is located in a flood-prone area, the safe might be at greater risk in the basement.
Where to put it The best place for your safe will depend on the design of your house, but there are some trade-offs worth considering.
The master bedroom tends to be the first stop for burglars, according to Mc Goey, so it might not be the ideal site for the safe.
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.
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).
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.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.
But if you want to safeguard hard-to-replace items such as family photos, birth certificates, passports, and tax records while keeping them close at hand, a safe could be a relatively inexpensive solution.