All Schwab Corp. fire files, safes, cabinets & vault doors have passed and exceeded the Underwriters Laboratories rigorous standards for fire protection and are certified for their respective fire ratings.
The Labeling of Insulated Record Protection Equipment
The rated labeling of an insulated safe or file cabinet indicates the degree of protection the safe or file cabinet will provide its contents if exposed to a fire. The degree of protection will affect the selling price of the cabinet or safe.
The most widely accepted label is issued by Underwriters Laboratories. However, the labeling of insulated record protection equipment is totally voluntary; no laws state that a file drawer, cabinet, or safe must bear a label.
Underwriters Laboratories was founded in 1894 and is chartered as a not-for-profit independent testing organization. Its sole purpose and function is to test for public safety. At UL, a whole array of products, systems, devices and materials are stringently examined and tested to insure they pose no risk to life or health, or are not susceptible to fire or other hazards. Crime prevention is also a major UL concern. And, of course, those products designed to protect are put to trial to make sure they DO protect.
The National Fire Protection Association
The National Fire Protection Association has set the same time and temperature limitations as Underwriters Laboratories. This organization, founded in 1896, promotes the improvement of fire protection and prevention methods and devices. The Association obtains and circulates information on fire prevention and safety and also works to gain cooperation from its members, as well as the public, in establishing proper safeguards against loss of life and property to fire. Members of the Association include over one hundred and fifty national and regional societies and associations and over 32,000 individuals, corporations and organizations. The Association is an international, charitable, technical and educational institution.
Record Protection Equipment
As maintenance of financial information, personal data and medical records becomes more important, the type of enclosure housing this information becomes more critical. Over the years, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. has developed several test methodologies addressing the fire- and burglary-resistive concerns raised by the end-use application of such an enclosure.
When fire-resistive enclosures are evaluated, the enclosure is subject to various test conditions that will ultimately expose all six sides to fire. This is accomplished by placing the enclosure within a furnance chamber that heats all exposed surfaces to the temperature conditions specified in the test standard.
If a manufacturer wants an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label on their insulated records protection equipment, the product must meet or exceed the UL 72 testing standards. All relevant Schwab Corp. products meet & exceed this standard.
Products may undergo four different fire resistance tests: 1) fire endurance test, 2) fire and impact test, 3) explosion hazard test, 4) combined explosion and impact test. The product is then rated for each of the tests it has passed, e.g. impact rated.
Primary records consist of many types of documents - paper records, microfilm, computer media, etc. Each has a different degree of tolerance to temperature, humidity and length of time exposed to harmful elements. To allow for these differences, UL tests cover three different temperatures and five different time durations.
The temperature noted on the UL label is the maximum temperature allowed inside the fire protective product during the test. For example, if the temperature inside a safe or file exceeds 350°F, it will fail the UL test for paper rated products. For tapes, cartridges, microfiche, and microfilm, the limit is 150°F (with an 85% humidity restriction); for diskettes, the temperature cannot exceed 125°F (with an 80% humidity restriction).
The time noted on the UL label indicates how long the fire resistant product was tested to withstand exposure to extreme temperature and still maintain a safe temperature/humidity level inside. The time lengths are ½ hour, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, and 4 hours. Theses times do NOT represent the total time of the tests, and they are totally indicative of the amount of protection offered. One hour rated products offer more than "one hour's" worth of protection.
The time rating also designates how hot the furnace temperature will get during the testing process. The summary below shows the correlation:
Hour Rated Products - The furnace is heated up to 1550°F over a one-half
hour time period. During this time, the interior of the product cannot
exceed the classification temperature or humidity (if applicable) limits.
Fire Endurance Test: Contents, which may consist of paper, computer media, or both, are distributed loosely throughout the fire resistant product to be tested. For products testing to meet the Class 350 or 125 requirements, the product is first conditioned for at least twelve hours prior to the test. This conditioning insures that the temperature of the interior at the start of the test will be between 65° and 75° and the relative humidity will be below 65%. This is considered to be equivalent to the normal room conditions where the documents will be stored. Depending upon the classification time being tested, the furnace heat rises at a carefully monitored rate until the specified temperature is reached. Great care is taken to make sure the furnace heat is distributed evenly over the exposed surfaces of the products.
The following chart gives the temperature and time durations:
After the temperature and time is reached, for example an hour - 1700°F, the furnace is turned off. The test product must then cool in the unopened furnace until a significant decrease in the internal temperature is noted. This cooling process can take as long as 68 hours. During this cooling period, the tested product continues to absorb the heat in the furnace and the interior temperature of the product can continue to rise rapidly. It is during this critical point of the test that many manufacturers fail the test, particularly at the 125°F 80% humidity level. Only products whose internal temperature and humidity level remains below the test limits during the entire heating and cooling processes are awarded the label. It is important to note that products which are "tested to UL standards" have not necessarily met or exceeded those standards, and may have actually failed the test. Be careful interpreting sales jargon. ALL SCHWAB CORP. PRODUCTS HAVE MET AND EXCEEDED UL STANDARDS.
Finally, the product is opened and examined to determine whether the contents are still in usable condition. The interior walls and components are checked for any evidence of heat or humidity damage.
One year after this initial test has been conducted; a sample product may be pulled out of production for retesting. The product must once again pass the original classification it was tested for to keep its UL label.
and Impact Testing Standards
After a product has passed the Fire Endurance Test, another sample of the same product may be tested for fire and impact. The sample is prepared in the same manner as the Fire Endurance Test. Then it is heated to a specific time and temperature (see chart below). After the product has been exposed for the correct time period, it is immediately removed form the furnace and hoisted 30 feet off the ground. UL then drops the product within two minutes into a pile of broken brick on a concrete base. This is equivalent to a fall form a third story.
After the impact, the unit is carefully examined for any signs of rupture of insulation or parts, or openings into the interior of the product. Because products do not always land right-side-up in real life situations, the product is turned upside down after cooling. The product is then reheated to check exposure to heat, based on the following classification chart:
Once the product has re-cooled, it is opened and dismantled. The testers examine the insulation material, the condition of the finish on the inside, the fastenings between parts, the security of interior equipment, locks, and the usability of the contents. Evidence of heat and moisture are also checked. One year later, UL may repeat this test on an identical product pulled from the production line.
All UL classified insulated record protection equipment must pass the explosion test. For this test, the sample is prepared in the same manner as for the two previous tests. The test furnace is left empty and heated to 2000°F. The testers quickly open the door and insert the sample. For 30 minutes (20 minutes for units rated ½ hour), the furnace is kept at 2000°F. If no explosion takes place, the sample remains in the furnace until it cools sufficiently to handle.
The sample is then forced to open and examined for heat or moisture damage. The interior finish, insulation, security or interior equipment, locks and fastening between parts, all undergo detailed inspection.
At the option of the manufacturer, the Impact and Explosion tests can be combined. The sample is inserted in the furnace to test for explosion, and then dropped 30 feet. The sample is then reheated and cooled again, and finally, examined carefully.
Possible Classification Labels: In summary, the labels below list the different classifications available, noting the different tests, temperatures, and time limits.
Class or classes to be 350°, 150°, 125° Hr to be ½, 1, 2, 3, or 4
Please remember, all four label styles require that the product has also passed the explosion test.
Computer Media and UL® Standards
The three different temperature limits, 125°, 150° and 350° are the result of testing and research with the manufacturers of different media forms. Paper burns at 420°F, so UL advised a temperature limit of 350°F to allow a generous margin of safety. The temperature within the sample being tested must never at any time, exceed 350°F, even during the cool down period in order to pass the test.
Underwriters Laboratories first tested computer media units in the late 1960's. In those first few years, computer media units were tested at the 150°F; 85% humidity level. That is, UL tests determined whether the insulated products could maintain an interior temperature of 150°F and humidity below 85% even when exposed to intense heat. Testing showed that temperature and humidity levels above these limits could irreparably damage computer media. Once diskettes became available, testing showed that temperatures above 125°F and humidity levels greater than 80% could endanger the diskettes, and a new classification was set. Whenever a new media is developed, UL meets with the manufacturer to determine if a new testing procedure is needed.
To monitor the temperature of the media unit during testing, UL uses thermocouples, which are devices to measure temperature. These are placed at the bottom of the unit, at the top of the unit, and on all four side walls. The unit is then tested in the manners mentioned on the previous pages, with the time and temperatures set to meet the classification requirements, and interior temperature/humidity limits. To measure humidity, electronic sensing devices are employed. One is place 18 inches from the top and one is placed 18 inches from the bottom, located midway between all side walls.
Note on Computer Media:
Some articles have stated that computer media should be stored at a temperature of 70°F and a humidity level between 35% and 60%. These are the requirements for long term or normal day-in day-out storage. The UL requirements are designed to protect tapes and diskettes form intense heat and humidity for a critical period of time in the event of a fire. UL does not recommend that you store your diskettes and tapes at a 125°F, 80% humidity level on a regular basis.
Foreign Labels and Testing Procedures
CSTB in France
In the impact test the product is heated for one and a half hours. The product is then removed from the furnace and dropped 15 feet. UL drops products 30 feet. The product is hosed down, and opened. CSTB does not reheat the product to make sure it can still withstand the heat requirements. Reheating is standard UL practice. CTSB does not conduct explosion tests.
in Germany ( V.D.M.A.)
J.I.S. in Japan
Products are tested against explosion by heating the product in the furnace to 1700°F. It takes approximately ten minutes for the furnace to reach this temperature. In UL tests, the furnace is already at 2000°F before the unit is placed inside. J.I.S. then heats the product for twenty minutes, as opposed to thirty minutes in UL testing. After testing, the product is hosed down.
72 Fire Resistance Rating Standard
UL 72 Fire resistance testing standards are conducted by the Underwriter's Laboratories, www.ul.com. The following UL 72 fire rating requirements follow the highest standards for fire rating test procedures.
1.1 These UL 72 Fire Resitance Rating requirements cover the test procedures applicable to the fire-resistance classification of record protection equipment intended to provide protection to one or more types of records when exposed to various durations of fire exposure.
1.2 Record protection equipment consists of self-contained, moveable devices of varying configurations, such as insulated bodies with insulated doors or drawers or lids, nonrated multidrawer devices housing individually rated drawer bodies, and other similar constructions.
1.3 Tests conducted in accordance with these requirements are intended to demonstrate the performance of record protection equipment during exposure to fire, but are not intended to determine acceptability for use after fire exposure.
1.4 Under these requirements, record protection equipment is exposed to a fire endurance test and an explosion test. Equipment intended to provide impact resistance is also exposed to a fire and impact test. The fire endurance test is intended to demonstrate the ability of the device to prevent the development of temperatures and relative humidity (Classes 125 and 150 only) exceeding the specified limits inside the device for the classification desired. The explosion test is intended to demonstrate the ability of the device to withstand a sudden exposure to high temperatures and prevent an explosion of the device from a buildup of steam or other gases. The fire and impact test is intended to demonstrate the ability of the device to protect contents from heat, to the extent described in the requirements, before and after an impact due to falling 30 feet (9.1 m).
1.5 The fire exposures are controlled to achieve specified temperatures throughout a specified time period. These fire test exposures by themselves may not be representative of all fire conditions; conditions may vary with changes in the amount, nature, and distribution of fire loading; the size and fire or nonfire resistive construction of the building; and the location of the device within the building.
1.6 The interior sample temperature and relative humidity limitations applied to the three classes of devices reflect the type of records to be stored in the device. Class 350 rated devices are intended to protect paper records, Class 150 rated devices are intended to protect paper and nonpaper records such as EDP media (magnetic tapes) and photographic records, and Class 125 rated devices are intended to also protect flexible computer disks. However, nonpaper records are not used as contents for the tests described in these requirements since testing to determine the ability of all available nonpaper records to withstand these conditions is not within the scope of these requirements.
1.7 Record protection equipment may incorporate locking devices, but the burglary resistance of such mechanisms is not within the scope of these requirements.
1.8 A product that contains features, characteristics, components, materials, or systems new or different from those covered by the requirements in this standard, and that involves a risk of fire or of electric shock or injury to persons shall be evaluated using appropriate additional component and end-product requirements to maintain the level of safety as originally anticipated by the intent of this standard. A product whose features, characteristics, components, materials, or systems conflict with specific requirements or provisions of this standard does not comply with this standard. Revision of requirements shall be proposed and adopted in conformance with the methods employed for development, revision, and implementation of this standard.
155 Vault Door & File Room Door Standard
Standard for Tests for Fire Endurance of Vault and File Room Doors
Recommendations for record protection equipment and techniques, including the use and installation of vault or file room door assemblies, are contained in the Standard for Protection of Records, NFPA 232.
The terms "vault doors" and "file room doors" refer to assemblies consisting of doors, single or in pairs, the frame into which doors are hung, and the necessary hardware. These assemblies are intended to provide fire resistance and protection to contents from heat for periods designated by the classifications to an extent described in these requirements.
Vault doors are recommended for use on enclosures of limited volume [not exceeding 5000 cubic feet (142 m3*)], constructed so that no point on the interior surface will reach a temperature exceeding 350°F (177°C) when separate vault members or the vault as a whole are exposed to a fire regulated according to the standard time-temperature curve. See Figure .
File room doors are recommended for enclosures of large volume [not exceeding 50,000 cubic feet (1420 m3*)] for the storage of records which are not of sufficient importance to economically justify the provision of vaults. It is anticipated that combustibles will not be stored nearer than 3 feet (0.91 m) from the unexposed face of the door nor 6 inches (152 mm) to the side from the door joints.
It is intended that classification shall register performance during the period of exposure and shall not be construed as having determined suitability for use after fire exposure.
product that contains features, characteristics, components, materials,
or systems new or different from those covered by the requirements in
this standard, and that involves a risk of fire, electric shock, or injury
to persons shall be evaluated using appropriate additional component and
end-product requirements to maintain the the level of safety as originally
anticipated by the intent of this standard. A product whose features,
characteristics, components, materials, or systems conflict with specific
requirements or provisions of this standard does not comply with this
standard. Revision of requirements shall be proposed and adopted in conformance
with the methods employed for development, revision, and implementation
of this standard.
FOR SAFETY FOR RELOCKING DEVICES FOR SAFES AND VAULTS
These requirements cover relocking devices for the following:
a) Light vault doors,
b) Heavy vault doors, and
c) Safes or chests.
Relocking devices are intended to relock the bolt mechanism or door of a vault, safe, or chest in th e event that the combination lock is subjected to attack.
A product that contains features, characteristics, components, materials, or systems new or different from those in use when the Standard was developed, and that involves a risk of fire, electric shock, or injury to persons, shall be evaluated using the appropriate additional component and end-product requirements as determined necessary to mai ntain the level of safety for the user of the product as originally anticipated by the intent of this Standard.
Standard for Safety for
These requirements are intended to test the ability of combination locks to resist unauthorized opening of the combination locks by sense of sight, touch, or hearing. Combination locks covered by these requirements may or may not have integral protection against entry by force.
product that contains features, characteristics, components, materials,
or systems new or different from those covered by the requirements in
this Standard, and that involves a risk of fire, electric shock, or injury
to persons shall be evaluated using the appropriate additional component
and end-product requirements to determine that the level of safety as
originally anticipated by the intent of this Standard is maintained. A
product whose features, characteristics, components, materials, or systems
conflict with specific requirements or provisions of this Standard shall
not be judged to comply with this Standard. Where appropriate, revision
of requirements shall be proposed and adopted in conformance with the
methods employed for development, revision, and implementation of this
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