Exit Sign Requirements – Tips for Egress Compliance

Egress compliance goes unnoticed for the most part by individuals entering and exiting a structure; however, it is an essential part of emergency preparedness. Exit sign requirements are meant to supply occupants with reliable aids at times when a fire or other type of disaster takes place. Signing, alarm systems, sprinklers, and a well-defined exit strategy make a big difference in how quickly individuals find their way out of a dangerous situation. Local building codes define the sizing, style, and illumination requirements of these items within a structure. Signing provides a visual source to individuals as they maneuver to the nearest exit point. Exit sign requirements state that each identifier must be placed above egress routes to help individuals locate the closest way out. Every state has specific regulations regarding what constitutes as a sufficient aid for exit identification. Each sign placed within a structure must be of a certain design, size, and set of contrasting colors to ensure reliable visibility.

The Source of Illumination is Important

A variety of characteristics are imperative when selecting signing to be used in a structure; however, the form of illumination is one of the most important. While the standard is typically 5 foot candle on the identifier surface, the required amount of illumination will vary per state. Owners should check with local building code regulations before choosing a product to be implemented. The light source used by an identifier can be either electrical or self-luminous in nature. Electrical based signing is on its way out as main and secondary power failures have caused disastrous results in buildings that are solely dependent on this form of illumination. Several building code regulations are beginning to recommend self-luminous egress products as an additional supportive aid for installed backup lighting. Tritium and photoluminescent identifiers are the most common self-luminous products made available for egress compliance. Photoluminescence is the safest choice for meeting exit sign requirements since radioactive materials do not have to be used to generate illumination.

Photoluminescence Offers Specific Benefits

Electrically powered signing has been the typical standard for remaining compliant with local exit sign requirements. These identifiers can be substantially expensive as an incandescent sign must be wired to both a main power source and a secondary failover such as a generator. Incandescent identifiers are one of the most expensive options for building owners wanting to meet exit sign requirements. Florescent products decrease the electrical costs associated with compliance, but do not alleviate the problems caused by failed power at the time of an emergency. Self-luminous identifiers provide a reliable solution in situations where power failures reduce or eliminate visibility. Tritium signs are expensive to implement and pose a direct threat to the environment due to the included radioactive materials. Photoluminescence eliminates the drawbacks of Tritium while providing a cost effective, safe alternative for averting unexpected lighting failures. Owners who choose photoluminescent products for further supporting egress measures are better able to ensure a quick exit at the time of an emergency. These products decrease compliance costs, are easy to install, and remain dependable in any situation.

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