periodically, keeping the space full of fog until police or staff are able to reach the site. Once the alarm system is unset, the fog unit deactivates automatically. When doors and windows are opened and extractor fans switched on, the fog disperses naturally.

Some fog unit systems now come with the added feature of SmartWater to further deter thieves. When an intruder comes into contact with the fog, they are sprayed with a traceable liquid containing a code that can be seen under ultraviolet light. Detectable for weeks on skin and hair and permanently on clothing and footwear, SmartWater tags intruders back to the scene of the crime. Research has shown that many criminals now actively avoid businesses with security systems that incorporate SmartWater.

In situations where instant fog activation is needed without an intruder alarm system, the fog unit can be connected to a panic button or triggered instantly by a PIR sensor.

Full steam ahead

Fog units are currently used in a wide range of settings, including banks, jewellers, travel agents, bookmakers, shops, offices and private homes. Back in 2010, it was estimated that there were over 100,000 premises in the UK with security smoke systems installed.

Although fog units are particularly effective in small spaces, they are easily scalable. In a large warehouse, for example, eight or ten units can be suspended over stock on racking. The units themselves are quite compact and can be hidden away behind a wall, above a suspended ceiling or in a cupboard, with a hole or grille through which the nozzle emits fog. Where smash-and-grab robberies are a threat, for example in a jewellery shop, nozzles can be fitted in windows.

Organised criminal gangs often know they can break in and remove safes from premises before the police have time to arrive. Our track record shows that this can be a completely foiled plan with the presence of

a fog system as they cannot see their way through to executing the plan. A win every time for the customer!

For one customer we suggested the installation of fog units across 150 outlets. The units were mounted above a false ceiling, with a grille through which the fog was expelled into the outlets as soon as the alarm and sensor system was activated. Having been the victim of multiple successful robberies in the past, since fitting the new security system the customer has not lost a safe.

If your site has high-value items that are open to theft I would strongly recommend investigating fog security systems. In our experience, the theory – if you can’t see it, you can’t steal it – has proved correct. Key benefits of fog security systems

• The fog leaves no residue, doesn’t smell and is completely harmless to humans and animals. It has no effect on clothing, furnishings or electrical equipment.

• Fog units are extremely reliable and are rarely activated by mistake. When used in conjunction with an intruder alarm system, they only go off once the initial alarm has been confirmed by movement in the area of a PIR sensor.

• A fog unit is relatively cheap to install and maintain. Initial set-up costs are likely to be in the region of £1,800 per unit. The cost of ownership over 10 years, including canister refills and batteries, is likely to be in the region of £2,500.

• Fog units are recommended by police and insurers and can result in reduced insurance premiums.

• Perhaps most importantly, in our experience at HESIS, fog units are 100% successful in preventing loss. On sites where we have installed a fog unit, we have never known a theft.


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