In Egyptian mythology, the Phoenix was a legendary, eagle-like, red-and-gold bird which was supposed to come every 500 years from Arabia to Heliopolis; here it built its nest on the altar of the Sun-God, was consumed by fire, and rose again from its ashes, young and beautiful. The Phoenix was a symbol of immortality.
The legendary bird would be proud of Champion’s fire protection systems that bear its name. With Champion’s exclusive Phoenix Fire Protection, a towering inferno, or even Hell, Fire and Brimstone with scorching temperatures up to 1500°F for one-hour-and-forty-five minutes won’t damage the interior of your Champion Safe. Maybe the conflagration will scorch the outside paint, but inside your treasures won’t end up clinkers and ashes.
Do You Need Fire Protection?
Papers and documents char at temperatures around 405°. Guns are damaged from temperatures exceeding 500°. To protect documents and other possessions during a home fire, the internal temperature of the safe should remain below 350°. This is why we include Phoenix Fire Protection standard on all models–so your safe’s contents won’t end up cremated.
Five Levels of Fire Protection
Phoenix Class I Fire Protection
45 Minutes at 1325° F. — Standard. on Model T
Phoenix Class II Fire Protection
60 Minute at 1350° F. — Standard. on Medalist
Phoenix Class III Fire Protection
75 Minute at 1500° F. — Standard. on Trophy
Phoenix Class IV Fire Protection
90 Minutes at 1650° F. — Standard. on Triumph
Phoenix Class V Fire Protection
Two hours at 1750° F. — Standard. on Crown
What You Need To Know About Fire Protection
Examine fire test claims made by safe manufacturers can be confusing and misleading. Unfortunately no universal standards exist for fire testing in the safe industry. Each manufacturer tests its own products at different laboratories to varying standards. Furnace ramp-up times, thermocouple placement, the addition of water, safe position (vertical vs. horizontal), and use of shields can all be used to produce more favorable ratings. Some companies test to half hour standards while others test for longer periods of time. Of course, the longer the test, the more it indicates about the quality of a safe and its fire protection. Half hour fire tests don’t measure the endurance of a safe and provide for minimal ratings. Here’s why. Up to half of the test is spent ramping the furnace up to the desired temperature–the gun safe is not subject to the full intensity of the fire and heat for the full test. Then the heat transfer gradient must be considered. Very little temperature change occurs inside a safe during the first 10 minutes of a test–maybe 10° or 20°. It takes time for heat to transfer. Obviously, 30 minute fire tests don’t reveal very much about a safe’s fire resistance.
Regardless of the confusing claims of “proprietary insulation,” “Double-wall,” “Triple-Wall,” or “Quad-Wall,” most home security safes use basically the same type of fire insulation–gypsum or sheetrock. Yes, the same stuff found in your home. Why is gypsum used over other materials? Because when gypsum is heated over 262°, it releases water vapor–cooling the safe’s interior. Until the moisture is baked out of the gypsum the interior of the safe will stay in the 200° to 300 ° range. This is why gypsum is the best fire insulation for safe applications.
There’s no magic involved in fire testing. How well a safe performs in a fire test depends on: the amount of gypsum in the safe, how well it is installed (no cutouts hinge pockets), door rigidity and door seal effectiveness.
Champion’s Fire Testing
Four of Champion’s standard production line safes– Sport, Trophy, Victory, Triumph 25, and Crown 30 were placed vertically inside a Certified Fires 12 million BTU furnace. Four unshielded temperature sensors, positioned near the top and bottom of each safe, were connected to two separate temperature recorders to verify internal temperatures.
Within 5 minutes of ignition, 6 natural gas fired burners, with flames blazing 15 feet long, heated furnace to over 900°–a much faster ramp-up time than a home fire. The test continued for two hours–heating the steel exteriors to cherry red. Afterwards, when examining the burned safes we found intense heat had buckled and deformed the safes’ shells but the door on all four safes remained straight and sealed.