Forums > Help! > Smoke detectors & site fire alarms Indoor fire shows

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328 posts
Location: uk


Not sure if this is the most suitable forum to place this, but here goes, and it's probably a little late,

Indoor fire shows etc, not that I do that many of them, they are usually more trouble that worth, anyhow was approached by client to put on a fire show, well paid gig etc, wish list includes an outside performance, full range of fire arts.

Finishing with indoor fire display inclusive of as many fire arts as I can get past the risk assesment and site inspection etc, whats the point I ask, either way, outside RA no unsual problems identified, indoor RA not too bad as it happens, good ventilation, more than adiquate fire escapes (comercial venue), no imediate combustables within the performance area, which also lends itself to being isolated from the clients, high ceiling.

Just one small problem, five high sensitivty smoke detectors, sited at various points, as is usual for any indoor fire show I put on, post risk assesment, I finish with a small series of set fire pieces, just so that the staff and paying client is fully aware of what an indoor fire show looks like, and to satisfy myself that there are no odd problems with smoke etc.

So having been assured by the client that he would be able to silence the fire alarm, (should it go off), I check fuel ejection and commence a short technical fire poi set,

30 seconds and the ******* fire alarm sounds, worse the thing would shut up until the sensors had cleared, that took around 10 minutes.

Tried varous low smoke fuels,

Any thoughts,


ArythArythSILVER Member
in a beautiful daze....
134 posts
Location: Liverpool, England

smoke alarms in commercial buildings are usually connected in a loop type manner to a control system somewhere in the building meaning that certain circuits can be disabled from the system. *however* this would probably require an engineer from the install company to come out and switch them off for the duration of the show. I doubt the client would want to pay for that though.

The only other option i can think of is kind of bad as with some types of alarm it doesn't work or only reduces the sensitivity slightly, and that is to pull a sock over the detector head before starting a show. Doing this will probably void void any building insurance and stuff though.

Sorry i can't be more help............ oh it could also be useful to speak to the local fire officer who could give you some advice on the best way to perform indoors in laces with fire detection systems.

Whatever happened to my green and pleasant land?

TinklePantsTinklePantsGOLD Member
Clique Infiltrator, Cunning Linguist and Master Debator
4,219 posts
Location: Edinburgh burgh burrrrrr, United Kingdom

well thats the 'take the battery out' idea out the window!

Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

onewheeldaveonewheeldaveGOLD Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
3,252 posts
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Written by: Aryth

The only other option i can think of is kind of bad as with some types of alarm it doesn't work or only reduces the sensitivity slightly, and that is to pull a sock over the detector head before starting a show.

That sounds really, really dodgy. It means that the performer is under the responsibility to remember to remove the blockage after their show, and, if they fail in that and there's a fire, people could die and the performer would be legally (and morally) responsible.

If I was patronising a club, I would be totally unhappy about any random performer being allowed to disable a fire alarm in such a way.

Written by: Aryth

...............Doing this will probably void void any building insurance and stuff though.

There's no probably about it- a condition of the insurance will be that fire alarms are in place; if there's a fire then there will be an investigation, and anyone found guilty of disabling the fire alarms will basically be under police investigation.

(and rightly so).

"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32

Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

328 posts
Location: uk


Aryth, many thanks

Both workable ideas, in theory, and comming from an electrical installation background, i have a good idea where thats comming from, considered both options in detail at the time of the risk assesment, but as OWD has identified anyone tampering with fire detection equipment is substantially breaking the law, and if caught will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law of the land, and as a professional performer I'm not prepared to go there.

Will be having a chat with the local fire officer, with whom I'm fairly well known to, see where that goes,

any other more legal suggestions welcome, I'll let you know what happens



PelePeleBRONZE Member
the henna lady
6,193 posts
Location: WNY, USA

I had a fire marshall disengage the alarms at one of my shows. I was only allowed to spin for 15 minutes and then they were turned back on.

Some of them also have a phone in option. I worked one club where the manager called the alarm agency and told them we were using an excess amount of smoke that night. They signed my waiver and away I lit. I spun for about 15 minutes and after 5 the alarms went off. The company was prepared, did not dispatch any fire persons and turned off the sensors remotely.
It created a noise and lighting effect (the strobe flashing) to go with my show for a few minutes, then was over. I was able to spin a bit more after fine. Then I went to the back of the club without so much fire sensors and did my second set without incident.

Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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