News and Information for Public Egress, Building Safety and Government Compliance
You might think your days of tests ended with school, but you’re wrong. Even though you retired your number two pencil years ago, leaving only the memories of filling in those nasty little alphabetized bubbles, the ominous aura of tests follows. For emergency lighting, passing the test can be easy, if you know the rules.
Look Into NFPA Guidelines
Unfortunately, there are a lot of rules, and depending on what facility you’re talking about and where this facility rests, the rules can be quite different. Start with the NFPA guidelines. OSHA and a number of other regulators across the country use these guidelines as their rules. In fact, every state uses their NFPA 70 code and 43 use their 101 guidelines.
Lighting To Egress
Highlighted in NFPA 101, the requirement for illuminated pathways all the way to an exit is pretty standard. This rule will apply no matter the state or facility. It’s also likely you’ll need to go even further. Changes in direction to an exit, such as turns in a hallway, must be marked clearly.
Your lighting needs to stay lit for 90 minutes or more during an emergency or power outage. These 90 minutes of light give the needed time for individuals to evacuate.
When the lights go out, your emergency lighting needs to be ready. The transfer must be automatic and replace normal lighting within 10 seconds. Anything short of these standards will likely result in a failed test for your emergency lighting, leaving your facility open to greater liability.
To pass most code, your emergency lighting must provide one foot candle of initial light. A foot candle is a measurement of light coming from a single source. A light offering a foot candle of light would cast a glow on an object a foot away. Your emergency lighting will most likely need to maintain an average of .1 to 1 foot candle. Last of all, the light must shine on the pathway to the exit.
Depending on your situation, you’ll need to have lights specifically adapted to your area’s natural hazards. For wet or damp locations, you’ll need NEMA lights and exit signs. For areas susceptible to flames, explosions or vandalism, you’ll need emergency lights and exit signs that meet the location’s demands.
Nailing down all the rules can be a tough task, but you don’t have to gather all the answers by yourself. Get the help of our team who has over 30 years of experience in emergency lighting.
There are plenty of regulators out there. Each has pages of rules. Getting them straight is a nightmare for poor facility managers and construction personnel. It gets worse. Each of these rules differ depending on state, city and type of facility. To help you navigate the cascading mass of rules, we’ve gathered a list of the top three regulators you’re going to want to look into, along with helpful resources.
Most people have never heard of it, but facility and construction managers across the planet follow many of the guidelines from this trade organization. The NFPA’s reach is wide, but the codes relating to emergency lighting include five key parts.
NFPA 101 – This is their Life Safety Code. Used in 43 states, this code sets standard facility requirements protecting people from smoke, fires, and noxious fumes. When it comes to your emergency lighting, this code lays out a number of rules regarding an illuminated pathway to egress.
NFPA 70 – What does it do? It sets the benchmarks for electrical design, installation and inspection for every state.
NFPA 110 and NFPA 111 – They set standards for the backup power supply needed for electrical failures from fires and other catastrophes. Again, these guidelines form as the basis for related regulations throughout the U.S. and even a few places internationally.
NFPA 99 – For healthcare facilities, the rules are even tighter. This explains why NFPA has its own code for hospitals and the like. The reasoning for the extra rules? Immobile patients, numerous staff and visitors packed into one facility simply have a hard time evacuating.
There are numerous requirements you need to know, but when it comes to your emergency lighting, you’ll find a majority of them in 1910.37 of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards.
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “not another regulation.” Don’t worry. There may be a lot of rules and guidelines necessary to receive this certification, but you need only do one thing: look for the UL 924 certification on your emergency lighting equipment. When you see UL 924 on emergency lighting, you know your equipment meets or exceeds stringent standards set by the Underwriters Laboratories. Buying UL 924 certified products will make your job easier, as these standards meet a number OSHA and NFPA guidelines.
Navigating these guidelines is a tricky proposition. If you’re unsure, seek help. Our team has been in the emergency lighting business for over 30 years, so we know a thing or two about the products that’ll meet your specifications. To learn more, check out our emergency lighting industry pages. They’ll guide you to the right lighting for your needs. Or, for some extra assistance, give us a call at 800-521-4045. Our team is happy to help you find a solution that fits your needs.