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.