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SECURITY


DEMYSTIFYING FOG SECURITY


What are fog units and how do they work? Barry Juggins, Managing Director of HESIS, explores an effective and underused system for securing high-value property.


The theory behind fog unit security systems is simple – what you can’t see, you can’t steal.


When someone breaks into a premises protected by a fog unit, a dense security fog fills the space within seconds. The intruder instantly becomes disorientated, can’t see what they’re doing and invariably runs away empty handed.


At HESIS, we’ve been fitting fog units – often known as fog cannons or smoke screen systems – for over 14 years. In that time, I have seen first hand just how effective they are as a security system for high-value goods and cash.


As well as watching hours of video footage showing break-ins foiled by fog, I have had the disconcerting experience of triggering a fog unit during fitting. Stuck up a ladder, unable to see the floor or ceiling, I couldn’t even see to make my way out of the building.


How do fog units work? In most security systems, fog units are used in


28 | TOMORROW’S FM


conjunction with an intruder alarm. The fog unit is connected to both the alarm system and a passive infrared (PIR) sensor that measures infrared light radiating from objects in its field of view. When an intruder breaks into the premises, the alarm activates and the fog unit is put on alert. If the intruder then moves past the PIR sensor, the unit is triggered and fills the area with dense fog within seconds.


The fog is thermally generated. The unit contains a canister of fluid – usually glycol or glycerine mixed with distilled water. When the system is activated, the liquid is heated rapidly to form a vapour that expands. This is forced out of a nozzle into the room, where the warm, moist vapour mixes with the cooler air and condenses to form an impenetrable cloud of fog.


The bang and hiss of the activated fog unit, combined with the effect of the fog itself, is usually enough to send would-be burglars running. However, in case a particularly determined intruder decides to wait for the fog to disperse, the unit can be set to continue pulsing


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