Meet... the fogging pioneer

Meet... the fogging pioneer

Carl Gibbard, Concept Smoke Screen

Who are you, and what do you do?
I'm Carl Gibbard and, along with my old friend Steve Gilmartin, I pioneered the use of 'fog' in a security role in the early 1990s. Steve and I also founded Concept Smoke Screen.

I no longer take an active part in the running of the company, concentrating instead on what some people call an 'ambassadorial' role.

You really are spoiling us, ambassador. May we enquire: what's your background?
On leaving grammar school I started a career as a trainee accountant. That didn't last long. A short stint in the British Army stimulated my appetite for travel and a chance meeting in 1974 saw me travelling 6,000 miles to join the British South Africa Police in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).

Returning to the UK a decade later, I worked for a defence contractor, travelling to various exotic locations around the globe. In the late 1980s I met Steve Gilmartin and in 1989 we decided to go off and do our own thing, tinkering with pyrotechnics and high explosives. In 1990 a chance meeting in the middle of a wet Kent field started us off down the fogging route and the rest is, as they say, history.

Carl Gibbard in Zimbabwe, British South Africa Police

What does a typical day at work look like for you?
As a pioneer of security fogging, I have taken on a variety of roles. A member of the UK National Committee (GW1) and the systems sub-group GW1/2, I am the convenor of the CENELEC working group CLC/TC79/WG10 producing and maintain European Standards for fogging and pyrotechnic obscuration devices.

I also actively represent Smoke Screen in the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), as Chair of the Association's Export Council and vice Chair of the Security Equipment Manufacturer's Section.

I work closely with the Department of International Trade (DIT) Defence Security Export (DSE) and am a member of RISC (UK's Security and Resilience Industry Suppliers Community). Add to that several Special Interest Groups dealing with issues affecting the whole security sector.

A typical day will involve a lot of background and preparatory work for the many meetings I participate in. Pre-2020 this involved a great deal of travel, but nowadays, the jacket and tie has been replaced by a more casual form of dress as meetings utilise the Teams and Zoom technology.

Ambassadorial role aside, I am still here to offer opinions and advice based on my three decades experience in the security and fogging sector. If nothing else, some of the experiences of the early years provide amusing anecdotes.


Where do you live and what do you do outside of work? What are your interests and hobbies and that?

I'm afraid I'm a bit of a single-minded, fog-focused psychopath. For the last thirty years I have lived and breathed (quite literally) all things fog and smoke related.

Hobbies include rugby union (watching nowadays as opposed to playing), movies (cinema and the various streaming services), visiting British drinking establishments and savouring the delights of real ale in all its forms. I have also rediscovered the joys of wildlife photography and may even be tempted back into sketching and painting.

I recently accepted an invitation to join the Parish Council as a councillor. I jokingly said that I would only join if I could be in charge. The joke backfired as after just three months I was appointed Chairman. One last position, and this is strictly between the two of us, every December I grow my grey beard long and don the red and white uniform of Santa Claus - much to the delight of the village children.

Right now, what is your favourite:

  • Music: Queen, ELO, Andrea Bocelli and a bit of Enya

  • Film: Zulu (of course) and a selection of classic war films

  • TV show: X Files, NCIS and Top Gear (The Clarkson years)

  • Book: Prefer audiobooks; anything by Freddy Forsythe, Le Carre and Stig Larsen

  • Food: Tiger prawns, a good steak, halloumi and almost all seafood

  • Drink: Ale, lager, wine, sherry and port but not all in the same session

  • Colour: Red, white and blue

  • Emotion: Nowadays, relaxed but with a streak of competitiveness

  • Pet: You can't beat a good dog

Anthony Hildebrand

The editor of Connected, Anthony is a real good writer and journalist with a background in security and technology publishing. There’s every chance you met him at that thing that one time.


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