Locksmithing/Used Bernardino safe

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Bernardini Safe Front
Bernardini Safe Front  

Bernardini Safe Tags
Bernardini Safe Tags  
I recently purchased a used Bernardini safe from your showroom. I was hoping to get some more information on this safe. Can you identify the model and approximate year it was manufactured? Also, is it equivalent to a TL15 or TL30 rated safe? I also just realized that the 2 hour fire rating is not UL rated, but by an independent laboratory in Brazil. Would you consider their standards similar? Also, because of the age of the safe, would you consider the rating to be valid to today's standards? i.e. 2 hour fire rating the same protection as a new UL 2 hour fire rated safe? Does the bolt hole compromise the fire resistance of the safe? Finally, can you tell if this safe has ever been drilled?
Thank you!

Answer
Hi Liz,

There is really no such thing as "equivalent"!   It either is a TL-15 or it isn't.   If it doesn't have a UL label indicating TL-15 or TL-30 resistance, then it is NOT.

Based on the photos that you provided, the safe is a non-rated burglary resistive safe, with two hours of fire resistance.

Non-Ratings are basically safes which are built below the minimum UL Burglary ratings.    This covers the majority of the safes out there.    These safes are designed for small businesses and home owners, keeping less than around $10,000 in valuables, overnight storage.

Basically non-rated burglary safes have to have LESS than 1" of steel (or equivalent material) in the door and LESS than 1/2" of steel (or equivalent material) in the walls.     You can look at 100's of different non rated containers and see everything from cheap tin boxes to substantial safes, like your Bernardini - but as they are not rated containers, they ALL fall under the non-rated category.

As far as the "Testing" procedures, many of the foreign standards are actually tougher than some of the UL standards - especially for fire resistance.   In general, testing is very similar at most test facilities.   The test safes are placed in an oven, at a test temperature (see your label) for the given time period - in this case two hours.   After the test period, and while the safe is still hot, they are taken out of the oven, inverted and dropped from a height of 25-40 feet on to broken brick, and then reinserted into a 2000 degree F. oven for an additional 30 minutes.
During the test period, the interior of the safe cannot exceed 350 degrees F.     This is not an arbitrary number - paper chars around 412 degrees F. and it combusts at around 451 degrees F.      Keeping the interior temperature below 350 degrees F. will ensure that documents are protected from heat and fire.

Having a "bolt down hole" in the bottom of the safe, does not significantly impact the safes fire resistance rating, however the hole IS intended to be filled by an anchor bolt, and anchored to concrete.    If you don't have the safe anchored down correctly, then it would be a good idea to fill the door with some other type of fire resistive insulation material, to maintain full fire resistance.

As far as your question about whether or not the safe has ever been drilled, without examining it, I have no way of knowing.    From the photos you have provided it doesn't appear to have been, again however, without examining it in detail, I can't answer this question.

As far as the safes basic construction and intended use, these were very good safes, well built with few problems.

Note:    In order to keep the safe in good working condition it needs regular maintenance - regardless of the manufacturer.     Commercial usage needs service at least on an annual basis, possibly more often.    Residential usage is every 3 to 5 years.    Caveat to both of these periods would be - OR as soon as you notice ANY type of problem.

Hopefully this answers your questions.  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 42 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.

Experience

44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes".

Organizations
SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 - Listed in AllExperts Top 50 Experts. All Expert Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service Area is Northern California (Fresno to Oregon and Western Nevada)

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