As we’ve previously mentioned, every fireproof filing cabinet carries a fire rating and may also have been independently tested to a national or international standard. One of the most highly-regarded tests for fire resistance is the NT FIRE 017 test.
The NT FIRE 017 test is part of a range of standards put in place by NordTest in an attempt to encourage cross-border trade and relations in Nordic countries. Many testing laboratories perform this test, including the highly regarded SP testing lab in Sweden.
The NT FIRE 017 has several different ratings for fire resistant products, depending on the type of contents they can protect and how long they can protect them for. In all cases, the product is placed in a furnace at temperatures of approximately 1000° Celsius.
The most common rating is for paper:
- NT FIRE 017-60 Paper: Provides one hour of protection for paper. During the test, the temperature in the filing cabinet cannot rise by more than 150° C or go higher than 177° C.
- NT FIRE 017-90 Paper: Provides 90 minutes protection for paper. Again, the temperature within the cabinet cannot rise by more than 150° C or go higher than 177° C.
- NT FIRE 017-120 Paper: Provides two hours of protection for paper by preventing the temperature inside the cabinet from reaching 177° C.
The acceptable temperatures for typical computer media are much lower than for paper:
- NT FIRE 017-60 Data: Provides one hour of protection for data media. During this time, the internal temperature of the safe may not increase by more than 50° C.
- NT FIRE 017-90 Data: Provides one and a half hours of protection for data. Again, the internal temperature cannot increase by more than 50° C.
- NT FIRE 017-120 Data: Provides two hours of protection for standard computer media.
Diskettes are a particularly fragile and heat-sensitive computer media. Filing cabinets designed to protect them are subjected to an even more stringent test.
- NT FIRE 017-60 Diskette: Provides one hour of protection for diskettes. During this time, the internal temperature of the safe may not increase by more than 30° C.
- NT FIRE 017-90 Diskette: Provides one and a half hours of protection for diskettes.
- NT FIRE 017-120 Diskette: Provides two hours protection for diskettes.
Filing cabinets that pass the NT FIRE 017 test are given a certificate by the testing lab. An independent cert is an assurance that the cabinet will provide the protection you need.