Open Forum

Haze Machines and Smoke Alarms

  • 1.  Haze Machines and Smoke Alarms

    Posted 02-11-2020 16:02
    Looking for anyone who has encountered this issue and has seen a successful solution.
      The crux of our problem is that Haze and Fog machines have a tendency to trigger the optical smoke detectors in the ventilation system at our schools and set-off the fire alarms. Our district's solution to this problem was to tell us that we were no longer allowed to use those machines.  

      I inquired if there were other kinds of sensors which would not be triggered by the Haze/Fog.  The response I have gotten so far is that they do not know of any alternative sensors and that if they exist, they would probably not be compatible with our old alarm system.  (I realize that as soon as we start to go down this road the question will soon be who foots the bill - but if we don't know what options exist, we can't start planning for the future.)
      One of my first thoughts was that this has to be an industry-wide problem.  Newer venues are probably designed with specific types of sensors to allow the use of Haze/Fog, and for older venues there must be a company out there that makes these kinds of upgrades.  I could accept "We don't have a workable solution at this time, but X and Y are possible solutions which would cost $Z."  What I can't accept is that no solution exists.

      If you have knowledge/advice to share, or know someone who might, it would be greatly appreciated.


    Guy Barbato
    Theatre Teacher/Director
    Leonardtown MD

  • 2.  RE: Haze Machines and Smoke Alarms

    Posted 02-12-2020 08:09
    After months of research, we went with 

    Blizzard Lighting Atmosfear Big Bad Lo Fo

    by Blizzard Lighting

    We met with our head custodian and the fire chief and went over the specs.  We then tested the fog machine at 100%, first notifying the administration and the fire department.  We did not set off any alarms after 20 minutes.  During our fall show, we used the fog machine consistently at around 20%, and that was plenty for us.  Hope this helps!

    Kristen Hoch
    Thunderhawk Theater Director
    Lakota East High School
    Liberty Twp, OH

  • 3.  RE: Haze Machines and Smoke Alarms

    Posted 02-12-2020 10:05
    I have spoken with our Security and they turn off the alarms during the time that I tell them we'll be using machines.  I'm not sure other schools would be willing to do this but our school has been really cooperative.

    Valerie Scott
    Drama Teacher/Director
    Perimeter School
    Johns Creek, Ga

  • 4.  RE: Haze Machines and Smoke Alarms

    Posted 02-12-2020 11:56
    We first tested our smaller machines with head custodian who was in contact with fire dept one evening when no students in building.  The smaller ones did not set off the alarms after 45 minutes
    to use a big fog machine that uses CO2 to keep it low lying , We have to pay a school plant person who puts fire alarm in a watch mode during show which slows us to use fog

    Tammy Smith
    Virginia Beach VA