An Overview of Emergency Lighting Requirements

October 28, 2021 10:58 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When you run a commercial, industrial, educational or other type of public space, you’re subject to emergency lighting requirements. A number of state and federal regulatory authorities have determined the rules and regulations for emergency lighting. These include the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), International Building Code and International Fire Code. You’re also subject to local and state authorities.

That can feel overwhelming when you’re just starting out—or when you’ve acquired a new building that may not be up to code. To ensure your building and its occupants are always protected, it’s a good idea to reach out to Anchor Safety Inc. We can help you stay compliant and safe.

Here is an overview of emergency lighting requirements.

Creating an exit route

Your building needs a clear, marked and lighted exit route in case of emergency. The exit route needs to lead directly outside to a street, walkway or other open space, where a person can reasonably escape danger.

OSHA requires that exit routes be clearly marked with “EXIT” signs. The door cannot be obstructed, or obscured by decorative objects. If the route isn’t immediately obvious (such as an exit door at the end of a simple hallway), there need to be obvious and clear signs that point to the exit route. The signs have to be lighted and have the word “EXIT” printed in letters that are no less than six inches tall.

The NFPA has further guidance about exit signs, including external and internal illumination. On top of that, any internally illuminated signs must comply with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) guidance.

There are also requirements pertaining to egress lighting (lights that help illuminate the exit route). Emergency lighting has to stay illuminated for at least an hour and a half after the emergency has begun so people can find their way out of the building.

Testing your emergency lighting

After your emergency lighting has been installed, the next hurdle is to make sure it’s tested regularly. There are three categories of emergency lights: traditional, self-testing/self-diagnostic and computer-based self-testing/self-diagnostic. Every month, your emergency lighting systems need to be tested and appropriately maintained, in order to ensure compliance.

That’s a lot for a business owner to contend with, especially when your focus should be on how to run your business successfully. The best way to make sure your building meets all the applicable standards is to work with a company that specializes in knowing those standards.

Ultimately, if you’re new to running a large facility, the assistance of a company like Anchor Safety Inc. can be a big help. There are multiple rules and regulations you need to follow in order to avoid hefty fines—and of course, safety is the paramount concern. Instead of tearing your hair out trying to figure it out on your own, call Anchor Safety Inc. today. We can help you ensure you’re up to code and as safe as possible.

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