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What about that precious paper?
Sentry Fire Box
Member Name: aefra
Sentry Fire Box
Date: 28/04/03, updated on 28/04/03 (1775 review reads)
Advantages: Keeps valuable papers safe from fire, Sensibly priced
Disadvantages: I have found none
I am not writing a horror story here, so this will be a contained fire and the baby, dog and pet rat are safely in the garden. The lovely hunky firemen are racing all blues and twos to your rescue and you have opportunely thrown that awful china giraffe which Aunt Ada sent you last Christmas onto the blaze. It goes without saying that nobody should ever return into a burning building. However, this is no huge conflagration and you have a choice of bringing something of value to safety. I am guessing that this would be jewellery, money/credit cards or such. I doubt very much that it would be your insurance policy.
As you wave the lovely hunky firemen good bye and return to find your insurance policies the truth hits you. Paper ignites at 450 degrees Fahrenheit and this fire was somewhere around 1500 degrees. "Ah!", you nod smugly, "My papers are in a tin box." The box may have survived but not your insurance policy, the passport you queued 9 hours to obtain, share certificates, property deeds, marriage certificate and those P60's which they tell us cannot be reissued. I also have letters and videos which mean the world to me and my protection is a Sentry Fire Box.
The Sentry Group is still family owned and was begun during the American Depression when John Brush and William Punnett opened a small shop manufacturing and selling safes. On reflection, a strange time to sell something to keep money in but there you go! Nowdays the Sentry Group is the largest producer of fire resistant safes in the world and their motto is "A useful product, honestly made and honestly sold". For me the advantage of this company is that t
hey also manufacture small safes for the home at reasonable prices and I paid around £60 for my 1100 model a few years ago. A quick check on the net shows that this is the price now.
Before I tell you something of the range, I shall describe my box for you. This is a smart pale grey with a matt textured surface and a large black lock and carrying handle area endorsed with the sentry logo and 2 keys provided. The keys are more for privacy than security. The exterior is 6 1/8"H x 14 1/4"W x 11" deep and is heavy at 17lbs. However the outer wall is very thick and the interior is only 12" x 2 1/2" x 7 1/2" at .18 cu ft and I could do with a fraction more space. A heavy A4 document which doesn't want to be folded needs just a tad more room when squashed onto all the other stuff inside. I feel I should have gone for the next size up which would have given me more depth inside. The base has low profile feet and the 1120 model has a quick release feature which allows the box to be bolted to the floor. The lid and body have a slight gap which will weld together in the event of a fire, thus protecting the contents.
My Sentry Fire box is always kept flat on it's base as requested and I have just noticed on re-reading the instructions that, for the protection of fire fighters, it should be kept on a ground floor or, if not possible, at least tell them it is there. They won't thank you when a small safe falls through the ceiling on to their heads. The booklet which comes with your purchase instructs you not to try and retrieve your fire safe box until after a fire is extinguished. Do make a note of the code on the keys as they may be replaced from the manufacturer for a small fee.
Should there be a fire in my home of 1550 degrees F, the contents will remain at no more than 350 degrees for half an hour. This unit was subjected to a flash fire test in a 2000 degree furnace for 20 minutes and did
not explode or rupture. Sentry offer good warranties including a lifetime replacement guarantee if damaged by fire and they ask only that it belong to the original registered owner. Should you not feel satisfied during the first year after purchase a replacement or refund is available.
The Sentry website, http://www.sentrysafe.com is worth browsing, although for good prices have a look at http://www.safeoptions.co.uk/acatalog/Sentry_Safes .html. These offer a good choice of Sentry products with size, time of protection and lock security rising with the model and price. For example, a larger size than mine, the 1160, is £88.13 and for the more ambitious the SO409 fireproof home safe, which has a factory set combination lock, a tray and holds A4 folders is £210 with free delivery on all orders. I bought mine from a security shop and you may well have a similar one near you.
I like the idea that my box takes up no more room than a deep brief case, looks smart and may be forgotten somewhere in the house until I need the papers. Digging it out for the purposes of this review had a pleasant side effect. I once more found the letters which meant so much to me and had a good nostalgic few minutes sitting on the floor re-reading them. It also gave me a chance to check that my will does not need amendment and to laugh at the premium bonds I have had since day one and haven't even earned me £25.
This is such a dull subject for a review and I would much rather write on wobbly jellies, books or magic gadgets. Yet how many of us know that such home security exists? I know I didn't until I searched rather vaguely for something which I felt I needed but of which I had had no mental picture. I feel the importance of this is such that I need to pass on the information........ and anyway there is a final advantage. When you dial 999 don't forget to tell the fire brigade of your Sentry. Tell them that it contains your s
pecial edition of Penthouse and that if they can put out the fire within 30 minutes you will let them read it.