Six Flags' FDA Violating Outdoor Dahua Fever Cameras

By Charles Rollet, Published Oct 26, 2020, 08:49am EDT

As Six Flags scrambled to reopen parks amid plummeting revenues caused by the pandemic, it deployed Dahua fever cameras outdoors that violate FDA guidelines, creating a false sense of security and increasing risk to guests.

Despite that, Six Flags marketed Dahua devices as "new cutting edge thermal imaging" while showing false readings of up to 108° in its own marketing.

This one-minute video summarizes the problems:

In this post, IPVM examines this issue in-depth.

Background

Due to COVID, Six Flags' revenue dropped 96% in Q2 2020 and its stock price has fallen by about 50%. Currently, only a fraction of Six Flags parks worldwide are open.

To reassure visitors and investors, in May, Six Flags began promoting new safety measures such as mandatory mask wearing and what they claimed to be "state of the art thermal imaging for temperature checks".

108°F Temperature Readings In Marketing

However, Six Flag's own marketing video showed the problems with its outdoor temperature screening. In the segment where it touts this 'cutting-edge thermal imaging', the subject in the center of the screen's temperature is measured at 102, 105, 107, even 108.7°F, as the excerpt below shows:

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Given IPVM's testing of this Dahua system and dozens of other 'fever' systems, this inaccuracy, while concerning, does not surprise us. And while many organizations have made poor decisions on screening, it does surprise us that a publicly-traded company who historically has had ten of millions of annual guests would be so careless to display an obvious faulty set up in its own marketing.

New Thermal Imaging Has Numerous Problems

IPVM reviewed walkthrough videos for each currently open Six Flags park in the US from YouTubers and found numerous FDA fever screening guidance violations:

  • Outdoor screening deployments fundamentally undermine guidance, as they cannot stop 'draft (movement of air)' and they cannot ensure the 'temperature should be 68-76 °F (20-24 °C) and relative humidity 10-50 percent'. Temperature and humidity can vary greatly over the year and even during the course of a day. For example, this week Six Flag's NJ park will have temperatures ranging from 38°F to 61°F and multiple days with humidity of 80%+.
  • The FDA advises "at least 15 minutes" of wait time for people in a "measurement room" until they are screened by a thermal camera. However, visitors enter Six Flags' fever screening areas immediately from outdoor queuing areas with no little to no adjustment period. This means outside weather conditions (hot sun, cold rain, etc) will impact skin temperature readings.
  • Blackbody calibration devices on Six Flags' fever screening systems are placed close to the thermal camera, violating FDA guidance that the blackbody is placed close to people being screened. This skews system accuracy as blackbodies are meant to be compared directly to human body temps and major manufacturers - including Dahua - say they function properly only if placed next to humans, which IPVM testing confirms.
  • FDA guidance advises screening be carried out in rooms with "no draft (movement of air)" but Six Flags' screening 'tents' typically have large air conditioning systems and/or fans blowing onto visitors. International guidelines also advise these systems avoid "drafts from sources such as air conditioning ducts" so that people's faces are not artificially cooled.
  • The FDA advises "any face obstructions" be removed, including hair and masks, however, Six Flags allow masks and hair obstructions to remain.
  • The FDA states "measure only one person" at a time but IPVM found multiple instances of Six Flags parks doing simultaneous screening.

In many cases, Six Flags' poor setups violated Dahua's own install instructions as well, as we show below.

Screened Immediately After Queuing Outside

Each park has a Dahua fever camera system located in a tent prior to bag checks, e.g. this is the tent at Six Flags America in Maryland as shown by this YouTuber:

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Prior to screening people queue up outdoors, as shown by this YouTuber at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey:

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Contrast to FDA guidance recommending "at least 15 minutes in the measurement room":

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No Removal Of Masks/Hair, Simultaneous Screening

The parks have signs telling visitors to "remove all headware" and "eyeglasses", as seen at Six Flags Great Adventure from this YouTuber:

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This violates FDA guidelines which state all face obstructions must be removed including masks and hair:

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Wrong Blackbody Placement

US Six Flags parks had incorrectly configured fever screening setups with the blackbody close to the camera, e.g. this setup at St Louis:

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And this setup at Six Flags Over Georgia:

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And this setup at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey:

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This violates FDA guidance which states the blackbody be adjacent to subjects being screened, not the camera:

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Air Conditioning Ducts Blowing Onto Visitors

At Six Flags Fiesta Texas, strong A/C units can be seen blowing cold air directly onto visitors:

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At Six Flags America in Maryland, a fan blew onto people:

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Another YouTuber mentioned that "it is very cool [cold] inside the tent".

All this violates FDA guidance that fever screening be set up "in a room with no draft (movement of air):

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Dahua Correct Installation

The Six Flags deployments also violate Dahua's own correct install practices.

For example, Dahua advises people queue up with social distancing and are screened one-by-one, in line with FDA guidance to "measure only person at a time":

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However the open Six Flags parks had multiple people passing through, e.g. this family in St Louis per this local news report:

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Or these people being screened at Six Flags Over Texas:

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Dahua also advises the solution be set up "indoors" including "queuing area" with "no wind":

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As we showed above, Six Flags makes visitors queue outside and the tents are filled with air drafts/wind.

Finally, Dahua's instructions state that the blackbody be placed about 118 inches (10 feet/3m) away from the camera:

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But Six Flags' blackbodies are far closer to the camera, further degrading accuracy.

Dahua Response

Dahua replied to our concerns about Six Flags, saying that "because we respect the privacy of our integrators and End Users we will decline to comment."

We asked Dahua in response to that:

Without speaking specifically about Six Flags, can Dahua provide a statement about what Dahua does when they are notified of Dahua medical devices being deployed in conditions that clearly violate FDA guidelines?

Dahua did not respond.

Six Flags No Response

IPVM repeatedly contacted members of Six Flags' PR and investor relations team but they did not respond. If they do in the future, we will update.

Conclusion

Deploying such poorly implemented systems gives visitors and employees a false sense of security while resulting in false negatives missing fevers and unnecessary hassle for false positives.

Six Flags joins a long list of many other organizations using poor setups as a supposed 'safety' measure, even highly sensitive ones like nursing homes.

It is worth remembering, though, that safe and accurate fever camera deployments are possible if "set up and operated correctly" as the FDA states.

1 report cite this report:

Dahua Rigs Fever Cameras, Covers Up on Nov 20, 2020
IPVM testing has verified Dahua rigged their fever cameras, with the company...

Comments (23)

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Your video does not tell the truth.

The manufacturer, Dahua , does not install the thermal temperature systems. It is up to the customer or an installer that the customer hires to install the product and to install it properly. The instructions and the training by Dahua for its thermal products CLEARLY state that the thermal camera system CANNOT be installed outdoors. If the system is installed outdoors, it must be in a tented area that has climate control and suppresses air movement. Your comparison is like blaming a car manufacturer for the death of a person who is run over by someone driving the manufacturers vehicle. The manufacturer is not responsible for how you setup or use the product. The manufacturer has no control over this.By reporting false facts such as this article, you make yourself and your company look bad and destroy your reputation.

We contacted Dahua 4 days before publishing this. We gave them plenty of time and an opportunity to give a statement. They could have condemned such usage, they could have claimed that they did not even know that Six Flags was using their systems.

Do you really believe that Dahua had no idea what Six Flags was doing with these systems? That Dahua employees had no contact with this deployment? Our experience interacting with Dahua on this product line is that they have direct involvement with large end-users doing such deployments.

By reporting false facts such as this article, you make yourself and your company look bad and destroy your reputation.

That or the company that rushed out a flawed temperature system with faked marketing so they could profit on a deadly virus.

We're proud of our efforts to expose both sellers and end-users that are endangering public safety.

I often have no idea where the products i sold went, and when i do i have no control over how they are installed.

I drank too much it is the Alcohol mfg. fault. I lost control of my car at high speed it is the manufactures fault.

You also want to pin it on a Mfg. to police FDA guidelines? This sounds like an FDA issue.

I often have no idea where the products i sold went, and when i do i have no control over how they are installed.

These are not $100 turret cameras installed at a pizzeria and you know that. These are $10,000+ systems at one of the world's biggest amusement parks.

If Dahua wants to take the route of saying that no Dahua employees had any idea this was happening until we contacted them 4 days ago, we are happy to run this prominently on IPVM.

Dauah's responsibility in this is addressing the inaccuracy of the technology and profiting from human rights abuses.

Legally, Six Flags is responsible for their own safety measures.

You are correct, the headlines are fake news and would lead someone to believe that the mfg. did the install. We all know this would not be the case but "National Enquirer" style headlines are more important than fact based reporting. As for the human rights bit that has nothing to do with this, who's cameras were used at Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Is IPVM also going to report on every other countries human rights violations including the US ?

Is IPVM also going to report on every other countries human rights violations including the US ?

Dear Dahua rep, Dahua decided to directly win nearly a billion dollars of projects in Xinjiang including operating police stations. That's Dahua's choice.

What does Dahua say about it? Brag about it.

We are happy to report human rights abuses for any video surveillance manufacturer. If you have suggestions, please share. We don't cover general human rights violations like "China forcefully harvests organs from detainees, tribunal concludes" because that is outside of video surveillance.

Where in this article is any mention of human rights? I searched and the first mention is in your post.

I agree the headline is misleading, but it did not make me think Dahua did the install. Instead it made me think that the Dahua cameras themselves were in violation of an FDA regulation, which they are not, at least until the FDA goes back to requiring such devices have 501K.

I agree that the title is a bit misleading since it is not the camera itself but the installation that is in violation of FDA guidelines.

Your car manufacturer story falls apart once the manufacturer is notified their product is being used in an unsafe manner. An ethical manufacturer could have responded to IPVM like this "Once we were notified the customer was using our products in a manner inconsistent with our instructions, we reached out to them and their integrator to let them know and provide guidance on proper installation and operation". If the customer/integrator refused, they could go as far as refusing future sales or warranty support.

Dahua simply pushed responsibility completely back on the customer/integrator. Contrast that to FLIR who banned Feevr from using it's thermal sensors because they were not being used appropriately.

It's important to understand that in the US, there have been successful lawsuits against manufacturers when their customers misused their products, even when the manufacturer is unaware of the misuse, just because the products can be misused. Now that Dahua is aware, they are open to legal action from any one of the thousands of people visiting the park if they get infected.

Your video does not tell the truth.

The manufacturer, Dahua , does not install the thermal temperature systems. It is up to the customer or an installer that the customer hires to install the product and to install it properly.

No one has claimed that Dahua installed the camera system, nor are they aware of errant user installation. As John points out below, it's unlikely that they're unaware but neither he nor Charles claims that they are. If you think a claim was made in the video, check the bottom of my comment where I transcribed the audio to text.

The instructions and the training by Dahua for its thermal products CLEARLY state that the thermal camera system CANNOT be installed outdoors. If the system is installed outdoors, it must be in a tented area that has climate control and suppresses air movement.

If you read the article, you would see IPVM is keenly aware of manufacturer instructions and limitations by directly citing the installation instructions from Dahua.

Your comparison is like blaming a car manufacturer for the death of a person who is run over by someone driving the manufacturers vehicle. The manufacturer is not responsible for how you setup or use the product. The manufacturer has no control over this.

You argue Dahua has no responsibility for implementation, I believe that when it comes to safety willful ignorance does not absolve them of responsibility. They have a moral obligation to address situations where their product is knowingly failing to protect people. IPVM contacted them and they didn't even feign concern.

Dahua and its distributors can require a plan review before selling a $10,000+ system designed for health and safety as part of that sale. Instead they burying their head in the sand. This isn't a typical CCTV install, this is certainly outside the forte of most organizations. This is a matter of public health, and frankly I agree with the IPVM position; a crackdown is needed to protect public safety.

Six Flags, one of the world's largest amusement parks, is endangering the safety of its guests with flawed Dahua fever cameras.

Six Flags revenue has plummeted this year as they tried to re-open their parks. They turned to Dahua technology, a company sanctioned in 2019 by the US for human rights abuses.

Six Flags' marketing video where they tout the technology shows temperature readings of 107-108. Six Flags is doing temperature screening outdoors; outdoor screen violates scientific principles, FDA guidelines, and world standards.

Sun, wind, rain, and changes in temperature all undermine outdoor temperature screening. Plus, Six Flags screening is being done on-sites either without a black body or with ones badly mispositioned, making results even more erroneous.

Dahua profits, Six Flags makes money but it puts the people who visits those parks at risk and their families and friends.

A crackdown is needed to protect public safety.

I'm not sure the idea of a "plan review" really makes sense, I don't see other EST companies that seem to be more ethical require one either.

To me the failure on Dahua's side occurred when they were contacted by IPVM and instead of thanking them for bringing the matter to their attention and stating they would at least attempt to educate the customer, they simply stated it wasn't their responsibility and blamed the customer.

Re-watch the video and carefully listen. Every claim by IPVM focuses on Six Flags responsibility to protect the public entering its amusement parks.

The context of Dahua being mentioned is that they are making money although the U.S. has placed sanctions on them for human rights abuses.

These are facts.

This is happening everywhere is the U.S. and around the world.

This is only the beginning.

Has IPVM designed, engineered or implemented any fever detection system as of yet? Are they only setting up and testing fever systems to the best of their knowledge and expertise? Is the IPVM facility capable of producing a fully tested FDA approved fever system? Is dahua just low hanging fruit? Did six flags have any help in their design? What is everyone doing to help the situation instead of pissing on it?

Has the manufacturer designed, engineered or implemented any fever detection system per FDA guidelines? Is the manufacturer setting up and testing fever cameras per FDA guidelines? Is the manufacturer capable of producing a fully tested FDA approved fever system? Is the gullible public just low hanging fruit for profit? Is the manufacturer profiting from human rights abuses? What are you doing to expose the truth?

Are they only setting up and testing fever systems to the best of their knowledge and expertise?

IPVM has the most experience in the world setting up and testing various fever systems (20+ and counting). That includes talking to the providers themselves, e.g., we have spoken at length to Dahua and Hikvision product teams about their systems as we tested them.

What is everyone doing to help the situation instead of pissing on it?

We are helping by calling out these issues. We reached out to Six Flags repeatedly but they did not respond. We always hope that end users do the right thing but the next best thing is to call it out so that the public can beware of such risks and other end users can avoid falling into such problems.

There's no miracle solution to outdoor mass fever screening. End users ignore science and safety guidelines for convenience. Manufacturers ignore them because they want to win deals and the huge profit margins that come from this.

The FDA very clearly defined the correct operation of these systems 5 months ago and we have reported and shared that widely. It's on the companies that refuse to comply to take responsibility.

John,

I realize it is really legally dicey nor is it IPVMs wheelhouse, but I think it would be a great public service for someone to have a directory of locations with improperly installed systems so that we can either avoid them or take extra precautions when we visit.

The amount of staff needed to vet, reach out for comment to the locations though would make such an undertaking expensive though.

As if John doesn't get enough hate mail already...

My first thought was that the legal problems would be severe, but IPVM is already writing these articles, so it wouldn't be that much different to list all the organizations they've called out. On the other hand, if IPVM actually advised people to avoid such venues, that might cause problems.

All social media information sites include a form of influence peddling, biased or not the lens is usually to small to perceive the landscape which it is pointed at.

I wouldn't go as making a recommendation to avoid, but a list of places with installs that do not appear to meet FDA guidelines so that one can make their own decision based on their risk tolerance would be good for me.

It would be a tricky minefield to navigate either way though.

They reached out to both the end user and the manufacturer and informed them of the issues with the installation that violate both FDA and ISO guidelines which are publicly available to anyone who desires to rely on such a system. Both had adequate time to respond, the end user didn't respond at all and the manufacturer punted to the end user.

In that case the only way to help the situation is to do what IPVM did which is publish the facts so that anyone looking to visit a Six Flags is aware of the situation and can take precautions. While IPVM did include it's specific experience with the product being mentioned as well as referencing the manuals that should have been used for installation and operation, they really didn't need to, nor do you need to be an expert on the traffic laws to report on someone who is jaywalking.

-Who was the integrator?

-Why did they think this would work?

-Why did Six Flags hire this integrator? OR did Six Flags do this on their own? I have seen a trend with customers installing whatever they want just to show they are doing something.

If it was an integrator, they failed Six Flags and Six Flags failed its customers. If it was Six Flags, they failed its customers.

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