Photoluminescent Safety Signs: Frequently Asked Questions

The use of photoluminescent egress products in buildings across the U.S. is increasing. To improve evacuation safety, building owners are outfitting egress paths with photoluminescent signage and egress markings, often in response to local legislation. If your building does not contain luminescent egress signs, the likelihood of injuries and fatalities during low visibility evacuations—especially when smoke is present—increases. Below, we answer frequently asked questions about photoluminescent safety signs to help building owners understand their operation and importance.

How does photoluminescent signage work?

Photoluminescent signage operates by principle of photoluminescence, occurring when an object absorbs photons from its surrounding environment and reemits them, creating a glowing effect. In nature, photoluminescence is usually a brief process, but the luminescent material used in egress markings and safety signage burns for up to ninety-six hours in total darkness.

Could photoluminescent signage work in a consistently dark environment?

If an environment remains dark indefinitely, photoluminescent signage will not work as intended. The solution to this problem is placing a black light in close proximity to the signage. Some building owners take this step to benefit from the superior dependability of luminous signage during emergency events.

If a building has backup lighting, why does it need photoluminescent signage?

Compared to photoluminescent egress solutions, backup lighting has disadvantages: it could malfunction due to generator failure or broken parts, and it performs poorly in the presence of smoke. Luminescent products, on the other hand, are electricity-free, contain no breakable parts, and remain remarkably visible in the presence of dense smoke.

What type of photoluminescent signage does my building need?

The type of signage a building needs depends on its construction and interior environment. Four signs that most commercial buildings need are: floor identification signs mounted in vertical exit enclosures; emergency exit symbols mounted on all exit-leading doors; direction arrows indicating the direction of an egress path when its continuation is unclear; and “no exit” signs placed on doors that could reasonably be mistaken for exit-leading doors.

How much does photoluminescent signage cost?

The cost of photoluminescent safety signs depends on several factors, including size, design, and mounting style. Nevertheless, most luminescent safety signs can be purchased for under $40 per unit.

By what guidelines should photoluminescent signage be mounted?

A building located in a municipality that does not require luminescent fire safety signs, the following codes are helpful:

International Fire Code (IFC)

IFC codes are ideal for implementing floor identification signs, area of refuge signs, emergency exit symbols, and egress markings.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code

The NFPA Life Safety Code is ideal for implementing “no exit” signage, directional arrows, egress markings and exit signage.

Glo-Brite has the photoluminescent safety signs you need

At Glo-Brite, our safety signs are designed to offer superior visibility through smoke, and burn for up to ninety-six hours in total darkness. We also offer a broad selection of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), IFC, and NFPA compliant signage. To improve the evacuation safety of your building with luminescent safety signs, call us today.

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