A fire test is carried out on safes to determine the degree of fire resistance. As with the tests that are carried out to assess how burglar-proof a safe is, fire tests are also carried out according to fixed criteria.
Uniform criteria across Europe
The bases for the fire test are the Euro-norms EN 1047-1 (fire test for data-security safes and diskette trays) and EN 1047-2 (fire test for data-security rooms and data-security containers), that is to say, the VDMA specifications 24991-1 and 24991-2.
The absolute benchmark when it comes to fire testing: The Braunschweig test
The renowned and most stringent of all fire tests is the so-called Braunschweig test of the Institute for Material Testing at the University of Technology in Braunschweig (MPA). This fire test consists of two parts:
In the first part of the fire-resistance test, the safe is heated up to a temperature of 1090 °C for a duration of about one to two hours. During this time the safe is only allowed to heat up to a specified temperature in the interior.
In the second part, the so-called fire burst and drop test, the safe is heated up to a temperature of about 1090 °C for a duration of 30 minutes. The safe then gets dropped a distance of 9.15 meters from the ground onto a bed of gravel or crushed stone.
This process simulates the collapse of building and the fall of the safe of a distance of about three building storeys. Subsequently, the safe is again heated up to a temperature of 840 °C and is then left to cool down. In this fire test, the temperature tolerance must not exceed 150 °C for paper documents or 30 °C for diskettes or other electronic data carriers.
Security for paper documents and data carriers
Once the safe has passed the fire test, it receives the respective class of fire-resistance. The differentiation is divided up into the following grades: S 60 P (has passed fire test for duration of 60 minutes re paper documents), S 120 P, S 60 DIS (has passed fire test for duration of 60 minutes re data carriers) and S 120 DIS.
Impressive imagery concerning fire tests that are carried out by the Institute for Material Testing in Braunschweig can be found here in our company video.