When it comes to choosing emergency lighting based on building type, the expectations are typically clearly defined by codes and regulations. These rules are set forth by governing bodies and it is up to the architect, working closely with the engineer, to ensure these codes are met. While the placement of emergency lighting based on building type is predetermined based on safety suggestions, there are still a few areas of this type of lighting open to variances.
What are the guidelines for emergency lighting based on building type?
The building type will bear some relevance to the placement of emergency lighting solutions. In most states, any building which is intended to serve as a public space, whether for commercial or nonprofit purposes, is required to have certain emergency lighting to aid in the safety of the public. Basically, any building which employs people and is open to the general public is required to have safety lighting measures in place.
Emergency Exit Signs
This is one of the most important lighting solutions in buildings during an emergency. Exit signs are required by law to be placed above doorways in commercial and public buildings. In the event of a power loss situation, or any instance when the patrons need to make a speedy exit for their safety, these lighted signs serve as a beacon. While the requirements vary by state, the main aspects of this type of light require that it is automatic in turning on during any loss of power, they should have a run time of at least 90 minutes of continuous light, and they need to illuminate up to 1 foot above the ground with at least 1-foot candle of illumination.
Emergency Pathway Lights
While exit lights are important for finding the way out of a building during an emergency, pathway lights are essential as well. Used to illuminate areas that lead to exit signs, they are particularly useful in large buildings with spread out exits. They should be placed so that they lead the way to an exit door. These lights are typically spotlights which are wall mounted close to the ceiling to provide the best distribution of lighting. While these are less highly regulated than exit signs, they are still a crucial part of commercial and public buildings.
Emergency Step Lighting
If the building has stairs, giving them proper lighting in the case of a power outage can be the difference between a safely executed exit plan and one wrought with injuries. Whether you choose to employ light rail ropes or step lights placed directly on the steps, this area of lighting is crucial if it is leading to an emergency exit door. While this will require special measures to ensure they are activated during the loss of power, it is still worth it for what it will save in the long run of liability costs to public safety.