Emergency Exit Lighting: Frequently Asked Questions

What would happen if your building experienced an emergency evacuation? Would your occupants reach an exit in a timely fashion? Several things affect evacuation time, such as evacuation planning, luminous egress markings, and emergency egress lighting. Below, we answer frequently asked questions about emergency exit lighting, a safety measure that some buildings rely on too heavily.

Must all buildings have emergency lighting?

Buildings that fall under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines for emergency lighting are required to have it. To see if your building must have emergency lighting, refer to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code 101 (2006), Underwriters Laboratory (UL) standard 294, and the municipal building codes in your area.

Which is better: Generator or battery powered emergency lighting?

Because it doesn’t require backup batteries, generator powered lighting is easier and less expensive to maintain. However, if a generator fails, the lights that it feeds also fail. Therefore, battery powered lights are usually more reliable.

How durable is emergency lighting?

Most backup lights are as durable as one would expect: they have rigid construction, but their breakable parts make them vulnerable to falling debris and explosions—occurrences that could precipitate emergency evacuations.

What caused the emergency lighting failure during the 1993 Trade Center Bombing?

During the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, the World Trade Center’s emergency exit lighting failed when a bomb destroyed its backup generator. Consequently, most evacuees traveled its vertical exit enclosures in the dark.

Does emergency lighting perform poorly in the presence of smoke?

Backup lights perform normally in the presence of thin smoke, but poorly in the presence of thick smoke. This is because smoke particles prevent them from illuminating the surrounding area. An emergency light in thick smoke resembles a headlight in thick fog.

Can luminous egress markings compensate for emergency lighting problems?

Luminous egress markings are not intended to compensate for the problems of backup lights. They can, however, create a safer egress system in spite of problems with backup lights.

Is it possible to replace backup lighting with luminous egress markings?

If your building is not subject to OSHA guidelines for emergency lighting, you can replace its backup lights with luminous egress markings. If your building is subject to International Building Code (IBC) or International Fire Code (IFC) regulations, it must contain luminous egress markings by law.

GloBrite has the luminescent safety products you need

Self luminous egress lighting has strengths that emergency exit lighting lacks, particularly: excellent visibility through smoke, no breakable parts, and no reliance on backup batteries or generators. These strengths make luminescent egress markings an excellent safety addition to hallways and vertical exit enclosures that contain only backup lights.

Our luminescent markings are powered by our patented GloBrite technology that delivers superior visibility at 100 feet, and a superior burn time of 96 hours in total darkness. If your building doesn’t contain luminous egress markings, don’t wait for an evacuation tragedy to demonstrate that it needs them. Call us for the best in luminescent egress products today.

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