Dispelling the myths about fog

General questions

Security smoke stops crime. It is a loss prevention/crime deterrent method designed to minimise and even completely negate theft during a break-in. As the name suggests it is a wall of smoke produced almost instantly that acts as a barrier.

Each year police receive over 100,000 genuine alarm calls from commercial premises under attack by thieves. Theft from break-ins, burglaries, ram raids, smash and grabs, hold-ups make up a significant portion of the 2bn a year that is lost by businesses to retail crime.

No. The fog is made up of water, glycol and glycerine. The glycol and glycerine we use are food grade and are present in every day products such as toothpaste, pharmaceuticals and even chewing gum. It is completely harmless, has no adverse effect and will not contaminate.

That’s the big question. It all depends on your needs, a fully integrated multi-device system with strobes and sounders will cost significantly more than a single machine. It all depends on the size of the area you are trying to protect and how many machines you will need and the machine model. Across the sector there is a wide range of machines to choose from all with varied benefits and outputs.

A large area such as a warehouse will require several machines to protect; it’s also important to consider the machine placement, we recommend that you focus the smoke on the assets you need to protect. Another advanced technique to help smoke go further is to use a ducted system- the generator fires into a small channel of plastic pipes with outlets staggered throughout will distribute the smoke so it covers a larger area. Talk to your sales representative about the most cost-effective way to protect your property.

If the Smoke Screen is installed correctly then there is no possibility of damage.

No. You do not have to fill the whole room with fog. Localised protection can be achieved with the correct machine placement and is the most effective way to use security fog. Smoke Screen fog is very persistent and with the smallest particle size in the industry means the fog travels at a speed of just 0.9mm per hour in an unventilated room.


The best use of a Smoke Screen machine is to mount the machine directed at what you are trying to protect. So, when the Smoke Screen activates the first thing it protects is the asset.

Where possible, we recommend positioning the Smoke Screens so they fire downwards, thereby creating a mushroom effect when the smoke hits the floor and providing even more coverage of the risk area. However, they can be installed at almost any angle and attitude.

You can install them and there are plenty of mounting brackets and fixing available. However, we have a team of registered installers who are trained to install the machines and the knowledge to recommend the most effective locations and optimum hang heights.

Yes, our largest Smoke Screen machine has an output of 1400m3 in 60 seconds and with large open spaces that need protecting multiple machines can be installed.

99% Yes, Smoke Screens are designed to connect to existing alarm systems. They require a set/unset signal from the alarm system as well as a trigger signal. The inputs into the Smoke Screen are volt free contacts.


No, depending on the machine fluid will last between 4-8 full activations.

Typically, Smoke Screen machines are set up to provide protection for 45 minutes. This is a combination of the initial activation of 30-60 seconds, followed by re-triggers of the machine up to 45 minutes or when it is deactivated. The fog will hang in the air for approximately an hour so the area is still protected if the thieves come back.

All vulnerable parts of the machine are protected. So, if any of the machines covers are unscrewed or a machine is removed from the wall a signal will be sent to the alarm to system to raise the alert.

Smoke Screens are typically mounted high, but in cases where they are accessible the typical ways thieves have tried to cover the nozzle while the machine is unset include sticking gaffer tape over the nozzle outlet, inserting a nail into the nozzle, taping cardboard or plastic over the machine. But in all of these instances the machine is so powerful that it simply ejects the obstruction and carries on as normal. End-users may also notice the activity or the obstruction and remove it.

All Smoke Screen machines have a battery back-up systems and the machines will still activate. Depending on machine battery back-up ranges from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours!


Concept Smoke Screen have product and public liability cover that covers all eventualities and we have never had a successful claim against us. All end-users are also required to have the machines regularly maintained and display security fog warning stickers.

In general, the Police see the use of Smoke Screen as a positive move against intrusive criminals. Many Crime Prevention Officers are happy to recommend the system. The new ACPO guidelines make provision for the use of a security smoke generating system. Fire Brigade personnel appreciate the need for such systems and have stated that, as long as systems are installed as per the code of practice, they have no objection.

Insurers in many countries now recommend security fog.

That will depend on the individual insurer. It is not unheard of for a discount to be offered, but you will need to discuss it with your own insurers.

British Standard BS7939: 1999.

British Security Industry Association Code of Practice for the manufacture, installation and maintenance of security smoke systems.

Association of British Insurers Guidelines for smoke security devices.

European Standard EN50131 part 8. An IEC International Standard is now imminent. The French Government Centre National de Prévention et de Protection (CNPP) has also produced a set of technical requirements for a European Standard.