Exit Lights And Emergency Lights?
When the power goes off suddenly everything turns pitch black in an otherwise well lit area. Without proper emergency lighting a normal building becomes a dangerous obstacle course that skyrockets liability and makes finding the exit near impossible. Of course the U.S. has strict standards that must be met for the safety of everyone so you must make sure you are in code compliance for your emergency exit lights. Most property managers of commercial buildings are very aware that sufficient exit lighting is in place for emergencies but rarely test the system after the initial installation.
There are many options for exit lights and emergency lighting; in fact you can even find exit signs with lights built in so you only need one piece of hardware. You will still need supplemental emergency lights in hallways, offices and other rooms that do not have an exit. One of the most important areas during an emergency is the stair case since this is the route anyone above the first floor will take. It is much easier for someone to get hurt with poor lighting in a stair well than in a hallway so it is a good idea to put extra emphasis on areas with stairs. You should also check the lights in a stairwell at least every six months but most seasoned property managers test emergency lights every 3 months just to be safe.
Many may ask is there a difference between emergency lights and exit lights. In reality there is no difference since they ultimately share the same purpose of making an exit easy to find during an emergency. This goes for fires, power outages, natural disasters and anything else that may cause power loss or reduce visibility.
Some of the top considerations you should evaluate when purchasing exit lights are form, aesthetics, code compliance and brightness. The most important is obviously the lights need to follow building codes for your area; every city and state has their own code so you need to make sure you know the legal requirements first. Next you want to find emergency lights that meet code which is usually clearly marked on the lighting hardware itself. You also want to pick something that fits in nicely with the building in form and color. For example, if you have white ceilings and walls then you probably want emergency lights with a white housing so they blend in well day to day. White is also easier to see in the dark even though with the emergency lighting in affect this shouldn't matter. Another important consideration is how bright or how much light is output from the exit lights. Lights with a low output will cover a smaller area so it could lead you to needing to purchase more emergency lighting units. Another factor is that the lower the light generation the harder it is for people to see; given there is a good chance of people in a panic then it is wise to have very bright emergency lights.
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