Nightmares and catastrophes do unfortunately occur. They are very real. Realizing the room you are in is already filled with smoke so much to the point that you cannot see anything, including where to escape, is a nightmare itself. If only there were some beacon of light that could lead you to safety. But wait! There is! Through the haze you can make out the emergency strobe lights and the lit exit sign so you can finally find yourself to safety. Without a dangerous situation to stare in the face, this equipment may not seem as important or high priority to you or your business, but these devices can save you and your company from a very real catastrophe. The lives inside your business are of the utmost importance. Make sure that you provide a safe environment for your business and employees to thrive in.
Know Your Local Codes
Emergency lighting and exit signs are required by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association). This association provides the safety requirements for the United States. Local codes cannot override the NFPA’s regulations, but they can add to them making the requirements even stricter in certain areas! The number of fire protection devices that your building needs, as well as their placement, depends on your region’s safety regulations, your facility’s layout, the type of business that the building houses, and even your insurance policy. Always contact your local Fire Marshall to be completely sure of your local safety codes and regulations.
Like we stated previously, the National Fire Protection Association lays out all of the fundamental requirements for the United States, but even more guidelines can be added on top of that by local jurisdictions, especially in highly populated areas. Here are some of the basic requirements that the NFPA lays out for us pertaining to emergency lighting and exit signs:
When it comes to exit signs, they must be properly illuminated at all times by a reliable source. All emergency exit signs should also be visible from a range of 100 feet and should not be obstructed from view. Exit signs must be placed within a six-foot vicinity of the exit that it is identifying. Obviously, if the exit sign is nowhere near the exit, it is next to useless. The font color of the sign is often only permitted to be red or green, but certain states definitely have a preference of one over the other. You might even spot some orange exit signs if you ever roll through Montana! The height of the letters also cannot fall below six inches. In some larger cities, such as Chicago and New York, the font height cannot be any smaller than eight inches. Again, your local Fire Marshall can inform you on the proper signage types and characteristics for your business.
Emergency lighting is required to illuminate important safety features such as exits, passageways and stairwells, or even safety equipment. Some newer facilities even require more emergency lighting than just these common walkways.
All exit signs and emergency lighting must have batteries as back up in case the power were to go out during an emergency. The equipment needs to be able to stay powered on for at least an hour and a half (ninety minutes) after its primary power source has gone out.
Your emergency equipment, exit signs and the emergency lighting both included, needs to be assessed regularly. Emergency lighting is required to be tested at least once a month for thirty seconds and then once a year for ninety minutes.
Types of Devices
There are a variety of safety devices for a variety of different protective needs. One size never fits all, especially when it comes to safety. Every business’ security demands are going to be unique based off of the architecture of the structure, the components and products inside, and the safety regulations of the local jurisdiction that it resides in. Here are a few different types of protective appliances your business may need to install!
LED emergency lights are some of the most efficient lighting options that one could choose from. They are more efficient than incandescent or halogen lamps, particularly in the ways that they put out more light from a smaller component, use up to 1/10 of the amount of electricity, and can have a lifespan that lasts up to fifty times longer!
Wet location exit signs are specially designed for areas that contain liquids that could possibly ruin the electrical components of the device. Wet location signs are highly resistant to water, dust, and ice, often using gaskets to protect the electrical elements inside. Since they can handle water and humidity so well, these signs are often utilized in outside environments too.
Emergency light combos are exit signs with emergency lights attached as well. It is two devices in one! Hence the name “emergency light combos”. These are great for saving space and working as a double threat for your safety!
Sometimes the things that we see the most happen to be the most forgettable. If you visit any public facility, your eye will pass over numerous exit signs and emergency lights, and nine times out of ten, you won’t even notice them. Just because they aren’t at the front of our minds at all times doesn’t mean that they aren’t extremely important to our wellbeing and safety. Maintaining a regular inspection and assessment schedule will help you remember the importance of these protective devices to you and your business!
Ensure that your workspace is a safe environment for everyone. Accidents do happen, but it can make a huge difference if you have the proper equipment in place before one occurs to make sure that a small accident does not snowball into a living nightmare. Would you rather replace part of a building or try to replace lives? One of the two is irreplaceable. Be a responsible leader and make certain that your business is equipped with the right tools to save the lives and property inside.