Testing and Certifications for Exit Signs
Ensuring Compliance with Safety Standards
Exit signs are an essential aspect of any building's safety infrastructure, providing a clear indication of egress routes in case of an emergency. However, not all exit signs are created equal, and selecting the right one for your building is crucial. It's equally important to ensure that your exit signs comply with safety standards and certifications.
In this article, we'll explore the importance of testing and certifications for exit signs and discuss the procedures involved. We'll also take a closer look at green exit signs, a relatively new addition to the exit sign market in the United States.
Safety Standards and Certifications for Exit Signs
Numerous safety standards and certifications exist for exit signs, and it's essential to be familiar with them to ensure compliance. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101, the Life Safety Code, and the International Building Code (IBC) set the safety standards for exit signs. The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is the primary certification agency for exit signs in North America. In Canada, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) provides certification.
The certification process for exit signs involves rigorous testing of the products to ensure they meet safety standards. The testing typically includes functional testing, photometric testing, and environmental testing. Functional testing verifies that the exit sign operates as expected in case of an emergency. Photometric testing measures the sign's luminance levels and visibility in different lighting conditions. Environmental testing evaluates the sign's durability and performance under various conditions, such as extreme temperatures and humidity.
Common certifications for exit signs include UL Listed, ETL Listed, and CSA Certified. UL Listed exit signs are certified by UL and meet UL 924, which is the standard for emergency lighting and power equipment. ETL Listed exit signs are certified by Intertek, a testing and certification organization, and meet UL 924. CSA Certified exit signs are certified by CSA and meet the CSA C22.2 No. 141, which is the Canadian standard for emergency lighting and power equipment.
Testing Procedures for Exit Signs
Regular testing of exit signs is crucial to ensure they comply with safety standards and remain effective in case of an emergency. The NFPA Life Safety Code and the IBC require that exit signs be tested at least once a month to verify that they are working correctly. The testing process typically involves checking the sign's illumination and verifying that the battery backup system is functioning correctly.
Periodic photometric testing is also recommended to ensure that exit signs are visible in different lighting conditions. This testing measures the sign's luminance levels and checks that it meets the requirements of the relevant safety standards. Photometric testing should be carried out by a qualified professional who uses specialized equipment to measure the light output of the sign.
Testing tools and equipment for exit signs may include photometers, which measure the luminance levels of the sign, and load testers, which simulate a power failure to verify that the battery backup system is working correctly. Other tools include multimeters, which measure the electrical current and voltage, and thermal imaging cameras, which detect any temperature changes that could indicate a problem with the sign's electrical components.
Green Exit Signs
Green exit signs are a relatively new addition to the exit sign market. Unlike traditional red exit signs, green exit signs use photoluminescent technology to emit light. The signs absorb light energy during the day and emit it at night, making them visible in low-light conditions. Green exit signs are also energy-efficient, as they don't require electricity to operate.
Green exit signs have some advantages over traditional red exit signs. They are visible in low-light conditions, making them suitable for areas where the lighting is limited. They are also energy-efficient, as they don't require electricity to operate, making them ideal for buildings looking to reduce their energy consumption.
However, there are also some drawbacks to green exit signs. For example, they may not be as visible as traditional red exit signs in well-lit areas. Green exit signs are also relatively new, and some safety standards and certifications may not yet apply to them.
Safety standards and certifications for green exit signs are similar to those for traditional red exit signs. The UL 924, CSA C22.2 No. 141, and NFPA 101 standards apply to both types of exit signs. Photoluminescent exit signs must also comply with the ASTM E2072, which is the standard for photoluminescent safety markings. Green exit signs must meet specific requirements to ensure they are visible and meet safety standards.
Selecting the Right Exit Sign For Your Building
Exit signs are a critical component of any building's safety infrastructure, providing a clear indication of egress routes in case of an emergency. It's essential to select the right exit sign for your building and ensure that it complies with safety standards and certifications. If you have questions about exit signs, including green exit signs, contact the experts at Jessup Manufacturing.