Emergency Lighting Guide: Emergency Lights

Aug 24, 12 Emergency Lighting Guide: Emergency Lights

In last week’s article, we discussed one major part of emergency lighting: Exit signs. In this week’s article, we’ll discuss the second part: Emergency lights. A note before you continue: Try not to confuse the terms “emergency lighting,” an overview of the entire topic, with “emergency lights,” a special light that comes on in the event of an emergency or power failure.

Like exit signs, emergency lights are a complex topic, yet also like exit signs, the regulations dealing with emergency lights come down to the same two important documents: OSHA 29CFR and NFPA 101, also known as the Life Safety Code.

Basic Requirements

The portion of OSHA 29CFR dealing with emergency lights (1910.37(b)) is relatively vague. It simply states, “Each exit route must be adequately lighted so that an employee with normal vision can see along the exit route.” NFPA 101, on the other hand, is much more specific. In section 7.9.2.1, it states:

  • The emergency light must provide illumination for no less than 1-1/2 hours.
  • The initial illumination of the emergency light must be an average of 1 footcandle (10.8 lux).

If you are unfamiliar with footcandles, essentially what the NFPA’s requires is that the light cast on any one square foot of an exit pathway must be equal to one lumen or more (a footcandle is equal to one lumen per square foot). This is something you’ll need to consider when choosing your emergency lights and why many of our lights include photometric charts. An emergency light with typical 5 watt tungsten heads may be appropriate for typical applications, but in many cases, you may need one with Halogen heads or even a special high wattage emergency light.

Testing

NFPA 101 also includes specific language about testing your emergency lights. Section 7.9.3 states:

  • A hard-wired emergency light must be tested monthly for a minimum of 30 seconds.
  • A fully battery-operated emergency light must be tested yearly for a minimum of 1-1/2 hours.

For the sake of convenience, not to mention safety, we highly recommend using self-testing emergency lights. These units continuously monitor the input voltage to the fixture as well as the condition of the battery backup. Should the fixture fail a test, an indicator light will signal that it needs to be serviced. At that point, you can choose whether you need to troubleshoot the input power, replace the emergency light battery, or replace the fixture altogether.

Other Considerations

Items not covered in NFPA 101 but still worth considering include remote capability, emergency ballasts, and aesthetic considerations. Remote capability allows you to connect multiple emergency lights, exit signs, or remote heads together, which will all trigger in the event of an emergency. Emergency ballasts keep fluorescent lights operational in the event of a power failure. Finally, you may want to consider the color and style of the emergency light you choose; after all, it will become a part of your décor.

If you have questions or comments about emergency lighting, be sure to let us know in the comments section. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus!

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Exit and Safety Lights

Oct 19, 11 Exit and Safety Lights

If you own or manage a business of any sort, it is likely required that you invest in exit lights, safety lights, and emergency signage. While no business owner wants to think his or her business might suffer a fire or other emergency, it is important to prepare for that contingency anyway. Insurance companies demand it, and most local fire codes make it a requirement. Most importantly, however, proper emergency lighting is for the safety of your business, customers, and suppliers. The last thing you want is for a simple lack of signage or emergency lighting to lead to a tragic accident.

Exit lights, safety lights, and emergency signage come in many forms. They range from simple illuminated signs that indicate where an emergency exit exists to multi-head, interconnected halogen emergency lights. While exit signs are available in many forms with various features, at the least businesses need signs that are bright enough for easy viewing even in smoky or dark situations. The minimal “extra” feature to consider is an emergency battery backup; in case of a power outage, emergency battery backups make it possible for the light to still function and provide safety for those in the building. Even when all the main exits are covered, you must consider the possibility that occupants inside a building may not be near an emergency exit door or window. They will need guidance to reach safety. That is where emergency lighting comes in. These lights put out a great deal of light to offer illumination in even the darkest and smokiest circumstances so that people can reach exits quickly and safely.

Proper emergency lighting does not end with installation. Existing exit lights, safety lights, and emergency signage must be kept in good working order and occasionally updated to meet new fire codes. This means testing battery backups on a regular basis, replacing light bulbs when they burn out or break, and even performing regular cleaning to make sure the lights will give out the necessary amount of illumination when an emergency arises. For this reason, it is wise to find a reliable supplier of emergency lights that can help you with both new needs and ongoing maintenance requirements.

Many businesses think that exit lights, safety lights, and emergency signage are added expenses with which they do not want to bother. They will meet minimum requirements and then forget the situation. Nevertheless, in order to keep people safe inside your building, you need to take care to make sure the lights and signage will allow them to get out of the building during an emergency. It is the right thing to do. Find a company that can give you the equipment you need at a great price. It will make the process much easier.

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Cyalume Glow Sticks

Aug 22, 11 Cyalume Glow Sticks

As a form of recreational light, “glow sticks” are popular options for children who go out trick-or-treating on Halloween and are fun options at parties and other recreational events. However, they have many practical uses as well. They are great options for safety lighting and are popular devices for the military, law enforcement, and other emergency personnel. They are useful for signaling, illumination, surveying, perimeter control, and many other uses. Cyalume safety products has taken advantage of the glow stick’s potential as a safety product by creating a line of industrial and military-grade chemiluminescent “Lightbars.”

Cyalume Lightbars are single use products that contain non-toxic hydrogen peroxide and dye that produce a chemical luminescence when combined. Fresh out of the package, illuminating substances are separate. Generally, one is in a glass ampoule and the rest surrounds it. When the consumer wants to use it, they bend the stick to break the barriers between the substances. Another option is to shake it hard to make an encased steel ball do the work. As the substances begin to combine, they start to glow.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of Cyalume safety products is the fact that they are waterproof and non-toxic. This means they work in just about any weather condition and are always safe to use. Other benefits include consistent light output without needing batteries, shelf life of several years, and easy storage. When needed, they can start emitting light within seconds.

Among Cyalume’s products are military-grade 6-inch light sticks, high-brightness “Impact” Lightbars, and the LightStation and S.E.E. evacuation kits. Cyalume has also started making the SnapLight flare alternative, which is a non-toxic alternative to traditional road flares. For these products and more, visit 1000Bulbs.com.

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