Knowing where to install emergency lighting and exit signs is crucial for everyone to be able to evacuate a building safely. They need to illuminate the path to exit and which doors to use that will lead to safety. Codes that govern the installation, inspection and testing of emergency lighting and exit signs have been established by several regulatory bodies. These include:
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
- Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)
- International Fire Code
- International Building Code
In addition to these national codes, there are often local requirements that apply to individual jurisdictions. Your local fire marshal or a fire safety inspector can provide the local requirements in your city.
Where to Install Emergency Lighting
Here are some things to consider when planning your emergency lighting installation:
- Emergency lighting is required for commercial, industrial, institutional, educational, religious, medical, and many other building types.
- All exit routes in a building—including hallways, stairwells, and corridors—must be illuminated with emergency backup lights so anyone with normal vision can see the path to the exit.
- Emergency lighting is required for any room larger than a closet that has no windows such as internal rooms, bathrooms, and storage areas.
- Emergency light fixtures must be spaced correctly to prevent excessively bright and dark spots.
- Allowances can be made for areas with large windows that supply a high level of natural light.
Once you have placed the lights make sure that they are aimed to illuminate the walkways, or they won’t meet code requirements.
Where to Install Exit Signs
Here are some things to remember when installing exit signs in your building:
- Every door exiting into a hallway that leads to the primary building exit must be clearly marked with a sign that reads “Exit.”
- Exit signs must consist of plain, legible letters and be a distinctive color that stands out from the background.
- The signs must always be illuminated and include a backup battery for continued illumination in case of a power outage.
- All exit route doors must be clearly marked with unobscured exit signs.
- The line-of-sight to an exit sign must always be unobstructed. If a hallway turns, additional exit signs with directional indicators must be installed to show the way to the nearest exit.
- If the direction of travel is not obvious, signs must be installed along the exit path showing the way to the nearest exit.
- Doors that could easily be mistaken for an exit along the exit route must be marked “Not an Exit,” “No Exit,” or have a sign indicating the room’s use (closet, storage, etc.).
Call Fire Control Systems today to schedule an inspection to ensure your lights are up to code.