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Press photo by Nick Hromiak Home safes are a good investment during these high crime times. Press photo by Nick Hromiak Home safes are a good investment during these high crime times.


Thursday, July 17, 2014 by NICK HROMIAK Special to the Press in Sports

As we're in the height of the vacation season, it's also a time when homes get burglarized since the bad guys seem to know when there's no activity at a residence. And because of this, and if you're an outdoor sportsman who owns a variety of hunting and personal protection firearms, they need to be secured in a safe.

For many years I procrastinated about buying a safe. But in today's world, and if you own firearms or are concerned about a fire at your residence, a safe is a good investment.

Consider the recent robbery that happened over the July 4th weekend in Sharon, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh. At 12:30 a.m. three masked men kicked in the door of a 71-year old mans house who was a gun collector with 31 firearms. They tied the elderly gent up, ransacked his house and stole an AK-47, handguns, rifles, shotguns, TV and a stereo. According to the local police chief, he surmised that the robbers somehow knew the guy had lots of guns. And that's how guns get onto the streets and used to commit crimes. The news release didn't indicate whether the gentleman had the guns in a safe, but it sounds like he didn't.

With a variety of safes to choose from, my preference was a Liberty Safe ( that's totally made in the U.S.A. (Pauson, Utah). That, and they're sold locally at A&B Lock and Safe in Allentown.

Doing some homework before my purchase I learned that Liberty is the market leader by surpassing all other safe makers in production and volume. They also offer a lifetime warranty even if it's passed on to another owner.

When selecting a safe be it for firearms, cash, wills, old photos, memorabilia and important paperwork, there are several considerations.

Liberty, for example, has six levels of fire and security ratings, the latter associated with extra, longer, thicker doors and bolts. Fire ratings range from 30 minutes to 2.5-hours in which the safe can be in a fire and maintain its contents. The model I purchased comes with a 30-minute fire rating since my home is in the city with close-by fire protection. If living in the burbs or on the Blue Mountain where it may take a volunteer fire company longer to get to, a longer rating seems to make sense.

As for quality, "Liberty manufacture's their safes using a two-piece roll form body that others don't use," said Heidi Carr of A&B Lock & Safe. "Liberty invested a lot of money to be able to use this process wherein others use what's called the "blacksmith" process that uses welds on all seams of the safe."

"In addition, Carr goes on to say, Liberty uses steel that is pickled and oiled, which takes all the scales off the steel after which it's treated with oil to prevent rust and better paint adherence, another process others don't do."

Liberty safes also offer various configurations for shelving. All padded shelf's are adjustable and can accommodate from 12 to 64 long guns, while flat shelves on one side can be stacked however you want them depending upon the contents to be stored. There are options such as jewelry drawers, magnetic mounts, pistol racks door compartments and more.

The other consideration when buying is whether you want a conventional combination dial or an E-Lock that is a push button module in place of the dial. Some may think the E-Lock is quicker to open while others can spin the dial in similar time once familiar with the cycles.

So if you're leaving on vacation for a week or two, wouldn't you have more peace of mind by locking valuables in a safe before you leave as burglars don't care about security systems? Its been proven that they can do a smash and grab in less than three minutes when working in two's. Until your alarm company notifies local police who must be dispatched and arrive on the scene, the bad guys are gone.