Best Practices for Vape Detection
Accurately detecting vaping activity requires a couple of considerations during install
Updated over a week ago

What is the range of air quality sensors for vape detection?

When mounted on an 8 ft ceiling, the SV11, SV23 and SV25 can detect vaping events within a 250 sq ft area around the sensor, or a 8 ft radius. Higher ceilings or increased distance from the sensor will decrease detection accuracy, as the vape/smoke particles are less likely to reach the sensor in sufficient concentrations. The range for vape detection and other sensors is also dependent on airflow, ventilation, filtration systems, and other variables. In most cases, alert thresholds for all sensors can be adjsuted to meet the unique needs of your environment.

What are the install requirements and considerations?

The air quality sensor if installed for vape detection should be installed on ceilings, wall mounting is possible but will degrade performance for accurate vape detection and events. We recommend installing at 8ft and a maximum height of 9ft for best air quality measurements. If air quality is not an intended use case, the device can be mounted at other heights or orientations.

  • No Verkada air quality product is a life safety device, and should not be used as a smoke detector. Please refer to this article about questions related to carbon monoxide.

  • The SV21 lacks the sensors required to do vape detection and does not support this feature.

  • The SV11, SV23 and SV25 Vape Index measures air quality events indicative of vaping and smoking, but cannot provide 100% proof of a vaping incident. School security and administrative teams should use the Vape Index and Verkada camera integration to help with investigations and monitor vaping activity and patterns, but use searches for physical evidence as the basis for further disciplinary/legal actions.

  • Certain smoke or cooking fumes can be identified as a vape event. In practice, this is rare in typical school environments.

  • The SV11, SV23 and SV25 will be less able to detect vaping/smoking incidents if a person uses significant efforts to hide the activity, such as exhaling into a closed container, out of a window, etc. However, the more typical behavior of breathing into a shirt or jacket still results in a detected vape event in our testing.

How does it work?

As vaping occurs, users can see spikes in Verkada’s Vape Index, which measures against a range of different onboard sensors to identify the likelihood of vaping or smoking occurring on a scale of 1 to 100. Administrators can set custom thresholds and time delayed thresholds to receive real-time alerts via SMS and email (or webhooks via our API). When detected, an alert can also be sent to pre-selected faculty members and on-campus security, allowing teams to respond quickly.

All sensor data is accessible from Verkada’s Command platform and is put against a timeline to give administrators a complete view of when these events took place. Additionally, administrators can pair a Verkada camera with any sensor, providing a layer of visual evidence to see exactly what happened. For locations like bathrooms, cameras can be placed outside these private areas, giving administrators a non-invasive way to monitor these incidents.

Did this answer your question?