To facilitate a safe and orderly evacuation, emergency exit signs and lighting are required. When a natural disaster or a fire leaves a building without electricity, these emergency exit signs will remain illuminated and intact — guiding the building occupants to safety.
In today’s post, what the federal and state requirements are for emergency lights and emergency exit lights. We’ll also discuss some of the prevailing concerns about choosing exit lights. On top of that, we’ll look at what the requirements are to meet the safety and protection needs of every establishment.
If you need professional guidance in choosing the right emergency exit signs for your building, please feel free to get in touch with us.
OSHA and NFPA Requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates all employers to set up easily visible emergency exit signs at every exit throughout their premises. The employers must also offer proper lighting at all exit routes.
To always ensure visibility, emergency exit signs must have distinct colors and consistent illumination. The signs must be lit to a surface value of 5-foot tall candles. That’s the equivalent of the minimum required lighting in parking garages.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) also laid out official standards and guidelines for emergency exit signs. This was following a massive fire in a garment factory in Manhattan that killed about 150 people several decades ago.
By the 1940s, the NFPA issued their expert recommendations, which were eventually included in the state and local fire codes throughout the United States.
The local fire codes from the NFPA and workplace standards from OSHA govern the installation, repair, and maintenance of emergency lights and emergency exit signs today.
Emergency Exit Signs: Do’s
Do: Know the Codes
As we mentioned above, the codes published by the NFPA and OSHA are what govern the use of emergency signs and lights. Knowing what these codes are is one of your main priorities as a building or property manager.
Professional fire protection companies are knowledgeable about what these crucial codes are; they’ll be able to guide you to make sure your building’s emergency exit signs and emergency lights are code compliant.
The NFPA Life Safety Code mandates what’s widely accepted for lighting and exit safety guidelines.
A professional fire protection company will only carry exit signs and emergency lights that follow NFPA standards.
Do: Install Illuminated Markets at Eye and Low Levels
Eye-level and low-level markers are required on stairwell exits. Placing the signs at this height warns people of uneven floor surfaces, landings, stairs, and doors. Also, during a fire, people may need to get and stay low. Placing your signs at low levels ensure that people who are staying low can still see them.
Mounting your markers at the right height will ensure that your building will pass the fire marshal’s safety inspection.
Don’ts’s: Emergency Exit Signs
This means using tape to mount exit signs or propping them up without proper support. Don’t compromise the safety of your employees, customers, and visitors.
On top of this, it’s illegal to use tape to adhere exit signs. There are specific types of adhesives used in installing emergency exit signs.
Don’t attempt to mount the signs yourself. An expert installer will ensure that your exit signs are sturdy at all times.
Don’t Penny Pinch
Doorways’ exit signs experience daily wear-and-tear due to heavy traffic. Don’t penny-pinch by going for the cheapest plastic signs. These kinds will crack sooner than you expect them to.
Go for exit signs made of acrylic or aluminum. They are designed to last longer through harsh daily conditions.
Don’t Waste Money and Time on Wiring
There are self-illuminated signs that absorb and store light emitted during a power outage. These items don’t need additional installation and wiring. They can be used as the most natural solution for your exit signs needs.
Don’t Wait for an Emergency to Happen
Preparedness is key. Don’t wait for something terrible to happen before you follow proper safety guidelines. As a building manager or property owner, it’s your essential responsibility to ensure the safety of everyone in your building.
Thus, never take emergency protocol for granted. Make sure you are always checking the durability, effectivity, and performance of all the exit signs throughout your premises.