Emergency Lighting Tips

Read these 5 Emergency Lighting Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Lighting tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Where should emergency lighting be put?

Where to Put Emergency Lighting

Emergency lighting should illuminate paths to all exits of a building. In particular, emergency lights should give light to any building feature that would be difficult to navigate in the dark, such as stairs and ramps. In addition, there should be emergency lighting systems available outside the building to help people get to a safe distance away from the building.

Just because emergency lights are required by law doesn't mean they have to be ugly. Today's emergency lights are available in a variety of styles to perform their function effectively without jarring the viewer.

How often should emergency lighting be tested?

Test Your Emergency Lighting System

Emergency lighting in commercial and government buildings must be tested monthly according to the National Life Safety Code. In addition, electrical codes require inspection of emergency lighting equipment at least once a year.

At a monthly test, you should:

  • Press the test button for 30 seconds to test the battery and light
  • Check each light to be sure it is not damaged, and that the beams are properly aimed
  • Change bulbs or repair wiring if needed
At the annual test, you should:
  • Disconnect AC power supply to each unit to be sure it is working properly
  • Check battery and lens for corrosion
  • Clean unit and lens
  • Adjust beam for correct alignment
  • Check battery voltage output and change batteries if needed

Can LEDs work in emergency lighting?

LED Emergency Lights

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) give off exceptionally bright light for a small amount of power. That makes them ideal for emergency lighting situations, where a battery must keep the lights powered for enough time to get everyone out of the affected area.

LED emergency lights include emergency strobe lights (such as those used on the top of police cars), emergency light fixtures, and even flashlights.

Who governs emergency lighting codes?

Emergency Lighting Requirements

In commercial and public buildings, the design of emergency lighting systems is governed by a number of authorities, including the National Fire Protection Association (which publishes the National Electrical Code) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Local and state authorities may have additional requirements.

In all cases, it is advisable to work with an expert and design your emergency lighting system to meet all code requirements before it is installed. In many cases, however, building administrators must find economical ways to make up for errors and omissions in an existing design.

Can I install emergency exit lights at home?

Emergency Exit Lighting at Home

Theaters, hospitals and offices are among the buildings required by law to have emergency exit lighting to help people get out in case of a power failure. Though such lighting is not a requirement for homes, a moderately handy homeowner can install such a system.

Emergency exit lighting is hooked into the building's power system. When it detects a loss of power, it triggers a relay that turns on the floodlights, powered by batteries.

It's a good idea to install two lights on every emergency exit. That way, if one bulb fails, the other will still do its job.

It may seem to make sense to put the emergency exit lights just over the front door. However, this can blind people who are trying to flee the house. A better solution is to put them close to eye level, on one side of the door.

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Lynne Christen