Tel: 630.960.5060
Your "Total" Source For Fire Safety & Security

  1. Are You In the Dark About Emergency Exit Lights?

    March 15, 2018 by Total Fire and Safety

    Nobody thinks much about emergency exit lights. But if the power suddenly goes out, smoke fills the room and you can’t see a foot in front of you, relying on the emergency lights may be your only means of escape.

    Emergency exit lights are essential to safety in any dangerous situation. They can alarm someone in a fire, be the only source of light in the dark, and the key to safely exiting the building. Emergency exit lights are often overlooked and taken for granted, but take note of how many you come across every day. Do you realize how many requirements and regulations go into the installation and maintenance of one exit sign?

    There are numerous agencies that govern emergency exit lighting and signs: OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), NFPA (National Fire Protection Administration, JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the International Building Code and International Fire Code. Above all these agencies, the local authority is responsible for monitoring and enforcing building/fire codes.

    According to OSHA, an exit route is defined as a continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel from any point within a workplace to a place of safety. There are three parts to an exit route:

    • Exit access-part of the exit route that leads to an exit.
    • Exit-part of the exit route that is separated from other areas and provides a safe means of travel to exit discharge.
    • Exit discharge-part of the exit route that leads to directly outside or refuge area.

    OSHA’s requirements for the lighting of these afore mentioned exit routes is covered under 1910.37(b). It states that each exit route must be sufficiently lighted so an employee with normal vision can see along the exit route and each exit must be clearly visible and marked by a sign reading “EXIT.” Additional information for OSHA requirements can be found at www.osha.gov.

    The NFPA guidance for emergency exit lighting and signs can be found in the NFPA 101, Life Safety Code. The NFPA’s Life Safety Code provides information for placement, illumination, and visibility for exit signs.

    • Placement of exit sign. Any exit signs must be located so that no point in an exit access area is more than the sign’s viewing distance, or 100 feet from the nearest sign.
    • Visibility of exit signs-Every sign must be located and of such size, distinctive color and design that is visible and contrasts from the background of its placement. NFPA also states no decorations, furnishings, or equipment that impairs visibility of a sign shall be permitted. Nothing should be placed near an exit sign that distracts attention and inhibits visibility of an exit sign.
    • Illumination of Exit Signs-The NFPA states all exit signs must be illuminated by a reliable light source and legible in normal and emergency exit lighting modes. There are two categories of illumination: external illumination, which comes from outside the exit sign and internal illumination, which comes from a source inside an exit sign.

    According to the NFPA, emergency illumination must be provided for a minimum of 1.5 hours in the event of power outage. The emergency lighting must be illuminated not less than an average of one lumen per square foot. The maximum illumination at any point can be 40 times the minimum illumination. All emergency exit lighting must be able to provide lighting automatically when normal light is interrupted.

    Many emergency exit lights are now using LED lights. The NFPA states that LED lights are longer lasting, provide better light and are most durable. In emergency situations, LED lights emit sufficient lighting and are most effective when placed properly. They are also most energy efficient, saving the building money.

    According to the NFPA requirements for testing, there are three categories of emergency lights: traditional, self-testing, and computer base self-testing. A monthly activation test which involves having the lights illuminate for no less than 30 seconds and an annual test which keeps the lights illuminated for 1.5 hours, simulating a long-term emergency. Records of these test must be maintained for inspection.

    Many regulations, codes, and considerations go into the signs and lights you see every day so it is important to have regular maintenance and testing of these lights. Total Fire and Safety has a knowledge team for inspecting emergency exit lighting. With regular maintenance and testing from Total Fire and Safety, you can be assured your emergency exit lighting is up to code and the safety of your employees/tenants is assured. Give us a call today 630-960-5060.


  2. 10 Reasons to Have LED Emergency Lights

    June 12, 2014 by Total Fire and Safety

     

    What kind of lights do you have in your emergency exit signs? Chances are, they are incandescent and fluorescent lights and probably have been for some time. Now, however, LED (light emitting diode) lighting is becoming a safer, more economical way for businesses to provide reliable, emergency lighting.  Have you discovered how LED emergency lights can help your business?  Here are the top ten reasons to consider it:

     

    LED COST SAVINGS

    LEDs are notorious for saving the customer money.  How much will you save making the switch to emergency LED lights? The answer depends upon your facility and number of LED emergency lights, but statistics show the savings could be dramatic. According to Energy Star, a qualified LED bulb has an average operating cost of $1 per year, while a compact florescent bulb’s annual cost is $1.20, $3.50 for a halogen incandescent bulb and $4.80 for a traditional incandescent bulb. In the case of exit lighting, where illumination is 24/7, significant savings always occur when our customers switch to LEDs!

    EFFICIENCY One of the reasons LEDs are more affordable to operate is because the LEDs run at a lower temperature than incandescent. This increases the bulb’s efficiency because they generate more energy as light, not heat.

    LED LIFESPAN  LEDs are also known for their longevity. Since they don’t rely on a burning filament for light, they can last up to 50,000 hours or more! While annual maintenance is still required, our customers appreciate how infrequently LED lights need replacement.

    BRIGHTNESS  Over the years, the color and technology of LEDs has improved significantly. Today’s LEDs are pleasing to the eye and outshine regular bulbs dramatically. They can be seen from maximum distances, and are therefore perfect for providing illumination in times of emergency.

    ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY  LED lighting continues to improve and demand for LEDs is increasing.  More and more options are becoming available for LED emergency lighting, from standard exit sign units to lighting strips that can be incorporated very subtly into the architectural elements of the buildings.

    CONSTRUCTION  LED lighting is thinner and lighter than other bulbs and therefore easier to install and maintain. Yet they are truly robust and offer some of the brightest lighting available. In fact, the construction of LED lights and absence of glass makes them the safest choice for mining, oil, exploration and other explosive environments.

    RELIABILITY  LEDs are easily controlled and since they use a minimum of power, they are ideal for operation from a backup generator or battery.  When you need them, LED emergency lights are there.

    ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY  LEDs are considered environmentally friendly since they contain no lead or mercury. They also last longer than incandescent bulbs, which end up in landfills much sooner. LEDs are considered the “way of the future” and expected to decrease energy costs nationwide.

    RESILIENCY  LEDs are tough, and resistant to shock and vibration. They are therefore less likely to be damaged in public places.

    SPACE EFFICIENCY  LEDs are very focused, bringing illumination to designated areas. LEDs rely on their own dedicated optics, drivers and fittings, so they can be easily incorporated into different types of lighting fixtures using a minimum of space.

    Still wondering if LED emergency lights are right for you?  Contact Us Today for a free estimate on making the switch to LED emergency lighting.