News and Information for Public Egress, Building Safety and Government Compliance
The stakes are high and the Super Bowl is being held at U.S. Bank Stadium this week. But… what if something were to happen?
At Super Bowl XLVII, a power outage caused the biggest game of the year to be delayed 34 minutes. The players felt they had lost their momentum. This was bad news for everyone – viewers at home, players, and fans at the stadium. A loss of electricity also impacts things like temperature control, refrigerators, and other large systems that keep operations flowing smoothly. So, what is the backup plan moving forward?
In short, an emergency light is a battery-backed lighting device that switches on automatically when a building experiences a power outage. This has become mandatory in many large, commercial buildings. It is typical nowadays to see LED lights rather than incandescent bulbs.
According to Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Minnesota is going to be tested very soon – the Super Bowl is one of the highest stakes events of the year. They must ensure that everything is in place and every catastrophe has already been considered and allotted for.
Luckily, Emergency Lite Service Center provides all types of emergency lighting to keep people safe in case of an emergency. Its offerings include five different types of emergency lights, five different types of exit signs, and five different types of batteries. Clients of E.L.S.C. include N.A.S.A., 3M, Honeywell, The U.S. Army and Marine Corps, Amazon, Medtronic, U.S. Bank Stadium, McDonald’s, and many other companies and corporations that have high stakes. These companies are well aware that the best time to plan for the future is now.
And if there were to be a power outage for this year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis, the exit lights would be ready. We should know, after all, we provided the exit signs for US Bank Stadium.
Thanks to a steady diet of cell phone and T.V. ads, you’ve probably heard of bundling, but it isn’t just telecoms offering bundles. With emergency lighting, you save by combining purchases of products. The most common bundle is the combo emergency light—half exit sign and half emergency light.
Which Combo Light Is The Best?
That’s a bit of a loaded question. The ideal emergency light usually depends upon your facility. However, there are quite a few high value systems that can serve a range of facilities. One of those is the Dual-Lite LTURW combo.
Great Value for Indoor Use
The model offers great durability for indoor use. Its UV stable thermoplastic housing offers protection against dust and dampness. It also meets applicable standards set in UL 924, NFPA 70 and NFPA 101 guidelines. In the event of a power outage you can expect it to last at least 90 minutes, offering sufficient time for individuals to evacuate a building.
Designed to be maintenance free, the lead-calcium battery also helps with longevity. By using lead-calcium instead of just lead, the battery becomes less prone to dry out. They also are better adapted to colder temperatures.
The combo light uses both halogens and LEDS. For the dual head emergency light, the Dual-Lite-LTURW uses two halogen lamps. While the exit sign relies on LEDs. The benefits of the lighting system offer economy. The halogens use little energy and the LEDs even less. To reduce operational costs, customers can go with the LTURW-03L model, which uses 3W LEDs instead of the two halogen lamps.
The Dual-Lite LTURW series offers multiple options for customization. Choose between red and green lettering and black or white housing. Include self-diagnostic testing , damp location listed models, fire alarm panel interface and more.
The Dual-Lite LTURW pairs versatility with value. You can have the standard model for under $160 dollars. To learn more about the model, check out its specs.
Because fires, power outages and other dangers are uncalled for, your exit signs have to be ready to pass the test. Prepare for critical events with two checks: one monthly and one annually. Following the two test schedules will ensure your exit signs are ready for danger.
The monthly tests are simple, lasting 30 seconds or more. For your exit signs to pass the monthly test, they need to maintain the minimum illuminations standard for 30 seconds or more. During these thirty seconds, the exit sign must use its backup power only, as you are simulating a power outage.
The monthly test is simple, but the second test, the annual 90 minute inspection, requires more work. Like the 30 second test, the 90 minute test determines if your system can maintain the minimum illumination standards while using only backup power. Backup power is likely to come from a battery, which must last for the entire duration of 90 minutes along with the lamp and other components.
The Easiest Test
Modern exit signs make monthly testing easy. The test switches built into units simulate power outages. By holding the switch for 30 seconds, you can determine if your light maintains illumination standards while using only the battery for power.
If you have an older exit sign, you may not want to trust this method. The components in older models that shut off the flow from the main power source have been known to fail. Because most systems require you to hold the button throughout the test, the built in test switch is not effective for the 90 minute test.
The Easy Test
The second method isn’t as easy, but simple. To start, unplug the exit sign from the power source. Cut off from its power, the exit sign will use its battery to stay lit. There are two downsides to this method. You could forget to plug in the exit sign after the test, and you could put your battery through a deep discharge if it’s left unplugged for too long. A deep discharge occurs when your battery is drained too low, decreasing its lifespan.
The Hard Way
Unfortunately the most cumbersome method also happens to be the best. Shutting off your circuit breaker controlling the power to the exit sign simulates a power outage. This testing method works great if all or most of your emergency lights connect to one circuit breaker. For the test to work, the breaker needs to be off for 90 minutes, which creates a problem when the breaker connects to essential equipment.
Does all this talk about testing have you on edge? Relax. Emergency lighting and exit signs are reliable. The batteries powering the units have a shelf life of 5 to 10 years depending on the type of battery you use.
If your unit is new, it will likely pass the test easily, but test anyway. Conditions specific to your environment can cause your systems to malfunction. To make sure you pass your next test, we recommend you have a quality exit sign that requires little maintenance throughout its lifetime. LED exit signs have proven themselves reliable and self-illuminating exit signs simplify the testing process.
The exit sign is a relatively new innovation, which cropped up in the past century. In that time, we saw the evolution of lighting move from incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs and realized rapid improvements in backup power supply, allowing exit signs to stay lit. Because of these innovations, exit signs can last for a long time without maintenance, but the exit signs of the future are even better.
The exit signs of the future don’t need electricity to shine, nor do they use batteries of any sort. They can be installed with little expertise and require virtually no maintenance.
How do they stay off the power grid? They use phosphors. Phosphors describe a variety of chemicals that glow after being energized. They can become energized in a variety of different ways. Some suck up daylight and dispel it throughout the night. Some, like tritium, use the radioactive decay of matter to keep the sign aglow for years to come.
The technology has been around for over a century, and is very similar to our florescent lights. The major difference is the chemicals in self-luminous exit signs hold onto the energy longer, gradually letting it spill out into the dark, while florescent light expels the energy quickly. Exit signs are one of the earliest adopters of the technology, which is why self-luminous exit signs are becoming more mainstream. At Emergency Lighting, you can chose from a number of different models, each one will save you time in reduced maintenance and money in electrical costs.
If you were asked to think about an exit sign, you and most of everybody else would likely imagine big red, glowing letters spelling out the word “Exit.” Yet, this isn’t necessarily the standard case. When you look outside the U.S., you’ll often see signs that include pictures of a running individual, along with a direction.
Without reading, it is possible to see where you should run or calmly walk to in the event of an emergency or fire. Sometimes the picture is accompanied by the native word for exit, but not necessarily. This approach allows everyone to understand the location of an exit, and it is very common in locations that speak a number of different languages like Europe. Perhaps the trend may eventually sail over to the U.S., but it’s hard to tell.
Recently artists have been making exit signs three dimensional. Yuki Matsueda’s work shows a running person jumping out right at you, escaping the danger behind him. Perhaps in the years to come, our exit signs may appear to us in 3D.
Though it’s hard to say what the future holds for exit signs, it is certainly bright. Even now you can partake in this transformation by enjoying innovations such as exit signs designed for wet locations, corrosion-resistant signs, vandal-resistant signs, self testing signs, photoluminescent signs and self-luminous signs.
The modern exit sign has a long lineage that borrows from its ancestors and will inspire its decedents in the future. You might be surprised at how far exit signs have come and how much further they will go.
Early exit signs were made of metal and had a white glass cover with the word “Exit” written in red letters. The sign was either lit by closely positioned incandescent light bulbs, or was fashioned into a box that held the light bulbs inside of it. Both styles of early exit signs had their flaws. At the time, batteries were heavy and inefficient. The energy to light the signs had to come from the building’s power source, which caused problems during fires and power outages. During such emergencies, the signs would lose their light, making it difficult for people to find their way out.
Fires were an even bigger problem for early exit signs. Light from incandescent bulbs tends to be less sharp and even hazy. During fires, it was difficult for people to see the exit signs through all the smoke. The heat from fires would also exacerbate the situation, reducing the system’s ability to stay lit.
And the final drawback of early exit signs is they were not very easy to mount or install. Because they were so heavy, especially if they contained a backup battery, it was difficult to find a wall space that could support them. They also were larger and took up more space than modern signs.
As time went on, dual power exit signs became more common. Such exit signs contained a backup source of power, a battery. Fortunately for exit signs batteries have made a lot of progress over the years. They recharge easily, have become small, and pack a lot of power. And they’re not as expensive as they used to be! Modern models are now equipped with a battery for backup, keeping the systems lit even when there is no power. In fact, all the exit signs currently on sale have a backup power source. Modern exit signs are also more efficient, allowing for the new and improved batteries to last.
Current exit signs perform much better in fires. They are able to better withstand the heat as they are made with flame retardant materials. The light illuminating them no longer comes from incandescent bulbs. LED lights are now common in the signs, as the lights require little maintenance. In fact one of the signs that is currently on sale for 27% off has a LED lamp life of over 25 years.
Today’s exit sign manufacturers have made the systems more user-friendly. They are lightweight and small compared to their ancestors. Maintenance is also minimized by the longevity of the components within the system.
Exit signage has come a long way, but will continue to evolve in the future. Stay tuned for what’s ahead. There’s an amazing symphony of progress and science that waits. In the meantime, here are a list of today’s exit signs available to you at a discount.
Discount prices and clearance items may run out, so buy soon!
For all the thought that is put into public egress systems and signage, it tends to only apply to a single set of our population. The Accessible Exit Sign Project is an independent campaign promoting the need for accessible means of egress in all buildings.
Managed by the Egress Group Pty Ltd, the project aims to raise awareness of the gap that exists in today’s emergency readiness and evacuation programs in accounting for those with sensory or mobility disabilities.
Millions of people around the world are faced every day with the challenge of finding a safe way out of public spaces. Adopting new universal design standards for our exit signage is the first step in creating more inclusive and equitable public spaces.
At first glance, the emergency lighting and exit signage we see everywhere in public spaces might not seem like it has changed much over the years. In fact, many updates have been made to improve visibility, legibility, and power usage.
While seemingly minor, these gradual changes have been significant for standardizing the safety of public spaces, and saving lives with better more accessible information.
The process of egress can be a messy business, especially if the exact routes and signage are unclear. The building codes that regulate public safety make specific recommendations to standardize the evacuation process and ensure the safety of all occupants. The US Office of Compliance have compiled six key attributes that directly affect the legibility and effectiveness of exit signage.
The next generation of exit signage might be right under your feet.
This week Phillips introduced a partnership with the Dutch flooring manufacturer Desso to develop a new breed of carpet with programmable LED lights woven directly into the fibers. The duo’s Luminous Carpets are controlled via WiFi and html to be updated in real time and present all manner of custom visualizations.
While the glowing red EXIT letters may be ubiquitous in the States, a trip outside the US will reveal a vastly different standard for emergency signage. In the event of an emergency, the majority of the developed world looks to a little green man for the route to safety. Why does America not conform to the global standard?