Fake fire alarm devices with cameras

Spy Associates manufactures a hidden camera that looks like an L-Series horn strobe, as well as SpectrAlert Advance hidden cameras and even BG-12 cameras with the Fire-Lite logo. Are fake fire alarm devices legal to install in buildings?

It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of those listings are fake in themselves, especially since all they do is use stock photos of actual notification appliances. Fake life safety devices are likely illegal to install in place of the real thing though as they chances are cannot perform the same life-saving function(s) as their real counterparts.

This is definitely very concerning in two ways. Firstly, this is yet another hidden camera that will probably be abused. It will also promote more tampering with real fire alarms from people putting these up and from people looking for them.

To answer your question, I would say that the fake horn strobes would only be okay to install if they are in an appropriate location for a camera and they are not interfered with any real fire alarm devices. Any fake pull station should NEVER be installed because people may try to pull it in the event of a real emergency.

Now that I looked closer I think you are right. This is definitely a scam website. I mean, $900 for a 720p camera??? I hope these are not actually this realistic and that nobody is dumb enough to buy and use them.

Yeah: the Internet’s full of sites just like that one that are not honest at all about what they’re actually selling (particularly if they just use stock photos like that site does).

It seems that fire alarm cameras might actually exist according to this post, even if this particular seller is not legitimate. It is also possible that this church modified a device themselves for this purpose.

Yeah, they could, even if doing so is probably still illegal in some way (or at least if they’re in place of an actual device & there’s no actual fire alarm device to actually perform fire protection duties).

I could actually see this being done with non-strobe devices with replaceable covers, since a cover such as a 49AOC-WRS contains no FIRE lettering while still being able to hide a camera, and the red color would lead people to believe it is a fire alarm.

I’ve only seen hidden camera “smoke detectors”. There’s one that looks exactly like a System Sensor 2400-series detector. And then there’s this one, not based off any actual detector models:

This one is at my high school, in a corridor not too far from the kitchen and maintenance area. I will admit at first I thought it was a real smoke detector but one I didn’t recognize the model of at all. Then I remember posting the photo here, and someone pointed out it was actually a hidden camera, and THAT explained a lot. (Especially because the only smoke detectors in this school are for elevator recall; the rest of the building mostly has mechanical heat detectors.)
I’ve also seen these at a hotel where they had a Simplex 4100U voice-evac system with addressable TrueAlarm detectors, and those hidden camera detectors really stuck out like a sore thumb compared to the real smoke detectors. They were probably installed well before the Simplex system was.

Really? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one like that before!

To be honest I’m surprised anyone actually uses “detectors” like the one in the photo: what, standard security cameras are too conspicious?

I am not sure how these kind of fake detectors are legal to have in buildings since they don’t serve vital functionality of a fire protection system. I’ve seen a lot of stories of how these are used in AirBnB’s to spy on people.

I really hope these are not being inside the rooms themselves with having an old system to match. I check every detector to make sure it is not a camera on the inside.

Gone are the days of fake fire alarms with hidden cameras, now are the days of real fire alarms that don’t bother to hide the cameras.

(Photo credit: @Equalstar68)
QR code links to https://www.sti-usa.com/nfpa42

Obviously, the fake fire alarms will still exist, but it would be interesting to see how many places will go with the legitimate option over the illegal option.

The way I see it as long as you have actual smoke detectors alongside them it should more-or-less be fine.

That last part seems odd to me in terms of the way you said it (heck I’m honestly not sure what you’re referring to), but yeah: when it comes to matters like this there’s a fine line between security & privacy.

Yep, though having the camera clearly visible like that may deter people from calling in a false alarm to begin with.

I agree, but I think that fake pull stations should definitely be illegal because someone may try to use them in an actual emergency.

Yes, although unless you count ones made by companies like UHPPOTE there aren’t any of those as far as anyone knows.

I seen a listing somewhere once where I think it was a BG-12xx was converted to a camera and was available for sale. They werebmass producing them.

Now that I’ve never seen before!

It would be possible to hide the camera right in the push in pull down black part right beside the LED would be at since light can go through that part. As long as it also functions like a real BG-12 as well it’ll be okay to install in buildings but illegal if it doesn’t serve real alarm activation purposes.

Here it is.

It cannot be legal being it is non functional as an FA pull station

Edit: There are more on that site. Even an Advance.

1 Like

These are probably fake. See the above discussion.