As a business owner, there are certain elements of lighting that are paramount to a safe location for staff and customers. For example, the matter of emergency lighting is key to a safe location in the event of a power outage. Let's take a look at what's required in emergency lighting for businesses with a few tips on the matter.
1. Know the main types required
When it comes to what's required in emergency lighting, you should start off by knowing the main types required for public locations. Whether the location is a standalone restaurant, a large shopping mall, or a government building with both employees and the public present, there are certain types of lighting the location is required to have as a safety measure.
The main types of lighting required for safety purposes do not refer to the fixture but rather the area being illuminated. The exit signs are placed above the door or exit. The exit access route is the pathway people will take to get to the exit sign above the door. The exit discharge is the area on the exterior where people exit the building through the emergency exit door. All three of these areas need ample light to ensure visibility and safety. While there are no rules on what type of fixture is used regarding lamp type or style, the rules stipulate that the word exit must be visible and properly illuminated with these signs.
2. Check with local and state codes
When it comes to ensuring you meet all the requirements of emergency lighting, you should definitely check with the governing bodies to avoid any violations. For example, OSHA and NFPA are two governing bodies presiding over commercial emergency lighting and there are several codes from each organization regulating this aspect of lighting. There may also be codes related to your particular type of location so you should also check with local or state code ordinances to avoid any issues. If you are in doubt, however, it is best to follow any and all guidelines put forth by OSHA and NFPA as a starting point.
3. Lighting must be provided for at least 1.5 hours
A standard guideline in emergency lighting is that it must stay lit for at least 1.5 hours after the initial power loss. This is important as it ensures that all employees and customers have ample time to find their way out of a building with proper emergency lighting as their guide.
4. Know the suggested testing for emergency lights
Emergency lights once installed are required by law to be tested in public buildings. The general guidelines as put forth by NFPA is that a monthly test where the light stays activated for at least 30 seconds and an annual test where a light stays lit for the required 1.5 hours are conducted for each emergency light in the location. There are also three different types of lights which are traditional, self-testing, and computer-based testing. If you have computer-based testing in place, you are also required to keep a log of the testing to present during safety inspection regarding the emergency lights.
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