Big Bolts: Talking with the Team

It’s time for another installment of our semi-regular feature where we talk directly with the people here that work so hard to develop the great new products that protect the important thing in your life. We are proud of the work we do here and it is great to be able to introduce you to another member of the team. Ryan Smith is the Product Manager for our Fire-Safe line of products and my co-host during our recent “Safe in a Fire” event.

Tell us a little background on the 1.23 cu/ft. FIRE-SAFE®?

SentrySafe invented this category back in the ‘30’s and continues to lead the market in sales by a healthy margin.  The fire resistance we deliver is unparalleled and the key feature of the product.  In a house fire, this product is simply the best option to protect and organize your important and irreplaceable items.  Many companies would sit back and coast with this kind of success. But, we feel that it is really important to re-learn the Fire Safe over and over again, and that’s why we started back with the end-user to determine what their needs were and solved for the problem with everything new we have learned in the past 5 years as a manufacturer.

What do people traditionally put in a 1.23 FIRE-SAFE®?

The contents are usually pretty typical – tax records, insurance documents, insurance riders, CD and DVD data back-up discs, photo albums, etc.  In fact, there are few things you can’t put in a 1.2 FIRE-SAFE®.  But, I love the stories we get out of our Customer Service call center across the street.  One older gentleman who called in looking to get his lost combination told us he once found a ring on the floor in a Las Vegas casino, brought it home thinking it was probably a fake, and it was appraised at $23,000!  He just wanted to get into his SentrySafe to have a look at it again because it made him happy.

Do you have anything important to you that you store in one?

My dad was much older than most for guys my age, and he actually served in World War II.  On board his ship he was a Sheet Metal Repairman 3rd class, fixing PBY-11 sea planes.  But, everyone on ship had a non-combat assignment, and his was working in the photography lab, helping take pictures and develop film.  He came back from the war with hundreds of photos – some of sailor’s antics during their down time, far off islands they came across in the Pacific or the damage they repaired on the sea planes.  Other pictures were taken during tense moments when they were under attack.  I don’t have my dad with me anymore, but those pictures mean so much to me.  They are a window into what he did as a young man to provide the life I enjoy today.  I couldn’t bear to lose them.

What brought about the changes to the Safe?

We maintain great relationships with our safe owners, so we continually learn a lot about where areas for improvement may exist.  We also spend a good share of time talking to people who don’t own our safes to see what they look for and what might be preventing them from owning one.  So, with this project in particular, it was a combination of sources that uncovered some areas of opportunity to improve.

Please walk us thorough the upgrades to the Safe?

First, we made some changes to make the safe easier to use and less frustrating.  The combination dial has bigger, white numbers that are easier to read, and the dial has crisper clicks so you can be surer of what number you are dialing in.  The electronic lock has a really cool battery drawer that slides in and out of the side of the lock so you no longer have to take the lock face off the safe to change the batteries.  And, on many of the electronic lock models we have added a very bright LED light that illuminates the interior of the safe, making it easier to find and get to what you are looking for.

Second, we made some major structural improvements to the security features.  The safe features 4 large, 1-inch bolts – that’s 60% larger than traditional safes.  On the opposing side of the door, we have a full length pry resistant hinge bar that acts more or less as a dead bolt.  We also developed an innovative clutch system for the handle that prevents it from breaking it if it gets over-torqued.

Lastly, we made the door pocket larger on the back of the door to accommodate more items that people want to easily access on a regular basis.  We made sure that it could hold CD/DVD cases and most small to medium sized external hard drives. The new design leaves the future wide open for new innovations and breakthroughs, some of which we have already identified and plan to launch as early as next summer.

Where should people look for these Safe?

All major retailers across the country will be carrying the new 1.23 cu/ft. FIRE-SAFE®, as well as Canada, Mexico and a host of countries outside of North America.  For the most up-to-date listing, use the “Buy It Now” feature on the product page.