Emergency Exit Lighting Requirements: Is Your Building Code Compliant?

Your building safety setup determines how quickly occupants can find their way out if an emergency takes place. Exit lighting is an essential component that must be up to par in a structure. Installation of egress elements ensures you meet building code requirements. You should have a system of backup lights installed to provide visibility during power failures. This system allows each occupant to see a direct path to the nearest exit location. Individuals will have a hard time finding their way without this safety measure in place.

A full egress system includes backup lights, an emergency alarm, path markings, notification signs, and sprinkler systems. Each plays an important role during a building evacuation. Local building regulations determine the exact specifications for structural backup lighting systems. Many local codes include or are derived from National Fire Protection Agency or NFPA guidelines. Extensive emergency exit lighting requirements can be found in the NFPA Standard 101. Below are a few set standards for major egress safety components covered by the NFPA.

Basic Standards for Fire Safety Signs and Illumination

Fire safety signs are installed to notify occupants of exit points, and help individuals locate equipment or avoid dangerous obstacles along the egress path. You may place them in corridors to show where to go, or next to a stairwell with a floor identification sign. They are also helpful when occupants need to find the nearest extinguisher. Lighting systems and signs work together to provide a reliable egress route. Illumination must be provided for a minimum of ninety consecutive minutes. This switchover should occur immediately when power is no longer present. Illumination rating standards require a floor level measurement to be taken throughout each path.

A generator or battery backup power supply must be provided, tested, and maintained. Batteries need to be in good condition and meet National Electrical Code guidelines. You are required to perform one of three tests on this system to ensure dependable operation and standard compliance. A thirty-second test may be run each month, and battery powered lighting must be tested once a year for ninety minutes. Special diagnostic devices may also be implemented to perform monthly testing, and test results need to be recorded so they can be referenced.

Fire safety signs are the second item needed for a reliable egress system. Exit identifiers set the minimum lettering size at six inches. Indicators must be illuminated during all times of building occupancy. Signs should be installed above doors and all stairwells. A directional identifier in the form of an arrow should also be included to lead individuals to these locations.

Your egress indicators may be lit with incandescent bulbs or newer illumination methods. Traditional identifiers need continual maintenance, accompanied by a consistent electrical supply. These signs operate on main power and can switch to generator-supplied energy during electrical failure. Generator malfunction causes these safety mechanisms to not be lit. Luminous indicators do not require power, are maintenance free, easy to install, and are a reliable way to provide additional support to already met emergency exit lighting requirements. Glo-Brite photoluminescent products can help you fulfill all fire code standards.

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