Does it really matter what type of exit signs a building uses? According to egress safety experts, the answer is yes. Although exit signs typically serve the purpose of indicating building exits for visitors and after lights have been turned out, their particular design can mean the difference between a smooth evacuation and one that brings tragic results in the event of fires or earthquakes.
In today’s commercial and residential R1 buildings, the most commonly used types of exit signs are incandescent, compact fluorescent, and LED, respectively. Under normal conditions, these exit signs work fine. But add thick smoke and falling debris, and they often display why using electricity-free exit signs for buildings, particularly photoluminescent signs, is the better choice.
Unlike electrical and electricity-free Tritium signs, which contain breakable radioactive capsules, photoluminescent signs contain no breakable parts, making them ideal for evacuations that are precipitated by falling debris. In addition, a photoluminescent sign maintains superior visibility through smoke to 100 feet, while most electrical signs maintain superior visibility to only 75 feet—a difference that could decide whether evacuees reach building exits with ease or not at all.
If it’s been awhile since you evaluated the safety of your emergency egress system, or if your old exit signs have exceeded their lifespan and need replacing, consider the advantages that come with using an electricity-free, maintenance-free photoluminescent sign. In addition to the safety benefits offered by photoluminescent signs, they also offer cost saving value, with research showing that companies who replace 100 incandescent signs with photoluminescent signs can save over $3,500 in annual energy costs alone.