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When an emergency or power outage affects your business, it is important to have reliable emergency lights and clearly marked exits. Emergency lighting and exit signs are among the most important safety devices in commercial buildings. They are designed to help protect employees and customers by lighting the way toward a safe exit in the event of a fire or other emergency.

While it’s easy to see the importance of emergency lighting systems, it’s just as important to understand the installation, testing, and maintenance requirements set forth by national and local authorities to ensure all emergency and exit lights are continually in working order.

Emergency Lights Required in Commercial Buildings

All commercial buildings are required to have emergency and exit path lighting.

Importance of Emergency Exit Lighting

When there is a fire or other emergency in a commercial building, emergency and exit lights help guide people out as safely and quickly as possible. Emergency lights, exit signs, and panic doors are safety devices that are just as important as fire alarm systems. While the latter communicates an emergency and fire sprinklers extinguish flames, emergency pathway lights and exits work together to ensure everyone is evacuated to safety.

Where Should Emergency Lighting Be Installed?

Buildings that have occupants during any part of the day are required to have emergency pathway lighting and exit lights.

You must provide a safe way for people to leave using emergency lighting. Some common places emergency or exit lighting should be installed include:

  • Windowless rooms that are larger than a broom closet
  • Stairs designated as an emergency exit
  • Aisles or corridors leading to an exit
  • Ramps leading to an exit
  • Escalators leading to an exit
  • All exit points that lead to an area open to the public
  • Doors equipped with delayed-egress locks
  • Doors having new sensor-release electrical locking systems

When to Test an Emergency Lighting System

Since people rely on emergency and exit lights to safely guide them out of dangerous situations, it is important to ensure the system is functioning properly by testing it periodically. In fact, without following necessary testing guidelines, you are not only risking building occupants but also violating life safety codes intended to prevent emergency lighting failure..

It’s important that a trained fire and life safety technician follows a monthly and yearly maintenance schedule to ensure emergency and exit lights will work when needed.

Benefits of Professional Installation

Besides knowing where to install emergency and exit lights, proper installation requirements must also be adhered to. This includes ensuring the lights are appropriately aimed to light the walkway and correctly spaced to avoid overly bright or dark spots. Emergency lighting and exit signs must light up in the event of a power outage, which often requires the need for a reliable battery backup. Proper installation, inspection and maintenance is a must to avoid code violations and costly fines, and should be left to trained fire and life safety technicians.