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Frequently Asked Questions


Question: Are all fire safe filing cabinets alike?

Answer: Fire resistant files and safes are available with different ratings, because paper and media require different levels of protection. During a fire, paper is more durable than media and can tolerate a wide range of humidity levels and heat up to approximately 400°F before igniting. Media such as diskettes, CDs, and tapes cannot survive either the higher temperature or the humidity levels found in the paper rated products. They must be stored in an environment that will stay below 125°F and 80% humidity in order to be protected. Data-Link media products are designed to meet these strict requirements.

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Question: Why do I need a special product for computer media? Don't fire files and safes protect everything from a fire disaster?

Answer: Fire resistant files and safes are available with different ratings, because paper and media require different levels of protection. During a fire, paper is more durable than media and can tolerate a wide range of humidity levels and heat up to approximately 400°F before igniting. Media such as diskettes, CDs, and tapes cannot survive either the higher temperature or the humidity levels found in the paper rated products. They must be stored in an environment that will stay below 125°F and 80% humidity in order to be protected. Data-Link media products are designed to meet these strict requirements.

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Question: Why do I need a special file? My standard files are metal - they won't burn.

Answer: Standard metal files may not burn, but they will directly conduct the fire's heat inside, where your records will ignite and burn. In a sense, your metal files become incinerators.

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Question: Does the insulation ever lose its effectiveness?

Answer: Only Schwab's unique, chemically dry insulation will maintain its effectiveness over time, since it has no free water to evaporate. Upon heat the Insulite material goes through a reaction that generates moisture. Some of our competitor’s insulation loses its effectiveness over time. All insulation designated as "wet", "oven-baked" or "oven-dried" loses its free water over time, thereby compromising its fire-resistant capabilities.

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Question: Are these products theft or security rated?

Answer: Most Fire resistant products generally use relatively light weight steel, which in turn prevents the products from attaining a security rating. However, Schwab’s unparalleled seamless outer wrapper, sealed back panel, and inner steel drawer vault, is the only design that makes forced entry impossible to conceal. Security locks are also useful if you want to prevent someone from breaking into your file or safe without leaving obvious physical proof. We offer various locking options to increase security.

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Question: What is the benefit of a product that is rated Class 350 or Class 125 when most fires exceed temperatures of 350°F or 125°F?

Answer: The Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. class rating signifies the maximum internal temperature allowed during the fire test. Depending on the length of the UL fire test, the external temperature to which the product is subjected will range from 1550°F to 2000°F; yet the internal temperatures cannot exceed 350°F or 125°F- for paper or computer media, respectively.

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Question: How adequate is a product rated for only one hour when most fires last much longer?

Answer: A typical fire burns at around 800°F. As it passes through the building, the fire's intensity changes as flammable items are consumed. Fires usually average only 20 minutes in any location. This intense burn is comparable to the burn portion of the UL test. After the flammable items are consumed in the fire, the overall temperature decreases, leaving items inside the fire to absorb the radiant heat. This part of the fire is comparable to the cool down portion of the UL test. Depending on the product being tested, the cool down portion of the test can last as long as 15-25 hours, during which the internal temperature and humidity levels cannot exceed the standards set forth by the test. Most products that fail the UL test fail during this cool down period. Be wary of marketing hype that says "tested to UL standards" - tested doesn't necessarily mean the product passed the test. A one-hour rating means the product will also survive the cool down period.

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Question: Why should I buy records protection products? After all, I'm insured.

Answer: Insurance can and will only cover the portion of your losses that can be documented. Some records may be priceless to your family, or imperative to the survival of your business, and not easily reconstructed no matter what dollar amount insurance may award you. Real insurance is the use of protection products that will preserve rather than replace those valuable family keepsakes or business records.

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Question: After a fire, how long do I need to wait to open the file or safe?

Answer: For maximum protection, please allow the file or safe to cool completely, where you can comfortably rest your hand on the product before opening. Artificially cooling the outside by pouring water on the product will cool the surface temperature, but may give a false impression of how cool the insides are, so use extreme caution!

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Question: Can I reuse the insulated product after a fire?

Answer: Once the product has been exposed to fire, the insulation loses its protectiveness. There is no way to re-insulate the product, and it should be discarded. If you are the original owner of a SW series file, record/media cabinet or safe, and have registered the product, you may be entitled to a free product replacement under our Limited Lifetime Replacement Warranty. Contact your Datalink representative for further information.

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Question: Are these products waterproof?

Answer: No, water resistance can be a concern. When a file is in a fire there is a positive pressure on the inside of the file along with the expansion that tends to keep water out. This is true of all makes of fire files. It is when there is no fire that a file is vulnerable to water intrusion. However, only Schwab’s design with a superior combination of seamless outer wrapper, sealed back panel, interlocking drawer joints and inner steel drawer vault help aid in preventing the entry of water. Schwab’s Insulite insulation is cleaner and lighter weight than that used by competitors because it contains no free water and conversely, does not absorb water. Schwab Corp. is the first and only fire protection product manufacturer to further address the issue of water protection when fire is not present. We have developed and are soon to be releasing a revolutionary design to the industry, Trident, which is the Next Logical Step in water resistance.

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Question: Are these products really fire proof?

Answer: The actual UL classification is for fire resistance. Virtually no product on the market has been tested and proven to survive against every possible fire, so Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. has devised a rating system to determine a products ability to withstand fires of specific temperatures and lengths and will only issue certification based on a product's proven ability to meet or exceed these standards.



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