Exit Light Frequently Asked Questions
American Fire & Security answers the most frequently asked questions about emergency exit lights.
Q: What is emergency lighting?
A: Emergency lighting equipment is designed to provide illumination during power outages. The equipment is made up of a rechargeable battery, a means to charge the battery, one or more lamps to provide illumination, and a relay device to energize the lamps automatically when the AC power fails. The battery is sized to provide emergency illumination for a period of 1-1/2 hours in the event of failure of normal lighting.
Q: Is there an NFPA code or standard that requires tests and maintenance to be conducted periodically?
A: Yes! NFPA 101 Life Safety Code Section 31-11.3.7 requires a 30 second test at 30 day intervals and an annual test for a 2 hour duration. NFPA 70 National Electric Code Section 700-4 requires testing upon installation and periodically afterward. Both codes also require written records to be kept for inspection by the authority having jurisdiction.
Q: Does OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration have any authority over emergency lighting?
A: Yes! Very much so. Section 1910.36 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act requires among the other things: In every building or structure equipped for artificial illumination adequate and reliable illumination shall be provided for all exit facilities. Every automatic sprinkler system, fire detection and alarm system, exit lighting, fire door and other item of equipment, where provided shall be continuously in proper operating condition.
Q: Is my facility likely to have its emergency lighting inspected by “the authority having jurisdiction?”
A: Yes! Fire Marshals, Building Inspectors, Insurance Agents and OSHA Inspectors can all inspect emergency lighting and give out heavy fines if the units prove to be inoperable. OSHA – Labor 29 CFR CH. XVII 1910.36 – General Requirements (b) Fundamental Requirements (6) In every building or structure equipped for artificial illumination, adequate and reliable illumination shall be provided for all exit facilities. (d) Maintenance (2) Every automatic sprinkler system, fire detection and alarm system, exit lighting, fire door, and other items of equipment where provided, shall be continuously in proper operating condition.