A building safety plan is developed to create effective egress routes and practices for occupants to follow in the event of a disaster. Emergency exit sign requirements ensure visual aids used to identify these points throughout a structure are helpful to individuals during a crisis situation. A means of egress, as defined by these standards, is an unobstructed route leading from one point in a building to an exit location. Routes have to be clearly marked with a visible form of signing to inform occupants of the nearest exit. Doorways and corridors used to reach these areas must also be free from obstructions or other items that could reduce visibility or access to such a location. Emergency exit sign requirements make certain signs are legible for egress route identification by individuals evacuating a structure and call for them to be placed above every egress door. Owners have many options when choosing a type of signing to install for this purpose; however, self-luminous products offer increased visibility and reduce compliance costs.
The Foundation of Photoluminescence
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) separates possible forms of illumination into three categories: external, internal, and photoluminescent. An externally lit sign uses an outside illumination source such as a dedicated incandescent light. Internally lit identifiers contain the light source while photoluminescent options utilize self-contained energy sources for operation that is not dependent on electricity. Internally illuminated signing has been status quo for meeting emergency exit sign requirements, but certain drawbacks have caused NFPA regulations to include codes regarding photoluminescent alternatives. A photoluminescent identifier uses surrounding light to store energy and releases this energy as a green glow to make it visible in low light or smoky conditions. The film covering the metal substrate contains a pigment designed to continuously absorb energy from present light sources for release as building conditions begin to change. Specifications laid out by the NFPA ensure each sign is implemented properly to receive adequate lighting for dependable illumination during an emergency.
How Are Self-Luminous Choices Better?
Internally illuminated signs are electrical based and must be connected to the main power source by a professional. A battery or generator based secondary electrical source has to be present for failoversituations and drastically increases the cost of keeping a structure compliant. Emergency exit sign requirements must be met to be compliant with local safety codes, but these regulations provide owners with some breathing room when making a choice on what products will be implemented. Signs used for egress identification within a building must be visible at all times to be compliant with set regulations. Electrical identifiers require constant power and have a higher degree of maintenance than photoluminescent alternatives. Each identifier has to be wired to two power sources, maintained, and properly disposed, which causes the total cost to be higher than when choosing to implement self-luminous products. Photoluminescent signs eliminate toxic material concerns, electrical expenses, troublesome disposal practices, and supply a visual aid in the most extreme emergency conditions. Emergency exit sign requirements have begun to promote the implementation of photoluminescent markings as a reliable, cost effective option for creating a code compliant building safety plan.