Lighting the Path- Emergency Lighting and Testing

September 7, 2022 Tonia Hoy

You can’t build a structure (whether it is an office complex, a retail store, a warehouse, a manufacturing plant, a school, or a hospital) without the thought of who will occupy it and how those occupants will exit the building in the event of an emergency. Contractors bear the responsibility to follow codes that keep these structures safe for their occupants. And according to NFPA 101 – the Life Safety Code, all buildings, except single family residential must have emergency lighting and path of egress markings with exit signs.

Ultimately, exit signs and emergency lighting must have secondary sources of power from a generator battery system that automatically switches on in the event of a power outage. Building occupants can then use the luminance of emergency lighting and exit signs to safely exit buildings in the event of an emergency.

Why is it important for Contractors?

Every state has regulations around egress paths and emergency lighting that allow building occupants to safely exit any building in the event of an emergency or outage. Contractors benefit from helping the end user follow building codes because it can help mitigate safety risks and fines. When the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) finds a business noncompliant for emergency lighting testing, the fine can range between $7,000 to $70,000.

Contractors have many options when it comes to picking the best emergency lighting for any space. Optical performance is key, style is essential, and battery technology must be state of the art for any condition. Demanding environments require high performance luminaires and contractors can grow their business with luminaires that range from wet location lights to emergency remote light heads.

Emergency Lighting Testing

The NFPA Life Safety Code not only requires the use of emergency lighting but the testing of the lights monthly and annually. The building owner must be able to provide a report that this test was done, and these reports must then be kept for 5 years.

Manual testing of emergency lighting is notorious for being a hassle but with STAR self-testing automated reporting, contractors can test luminaires monthly and annually from any mobile device. This data can also be accessed on any device and stored. Licensed electricians charge up to $100 an hour for the emergency lighting services now being rendered by STAR.

In addition, if a contractor were to complete this testing manually it would add a significant amount of time depending on the number of emergency lights and the ability to reach them. Compliance and safety are now easier than ever for contractors to achieve through Acuity’s STAR technology, saving time during the testing process and preventing non-compliance fines for the end user.

Acuity Brands has an emergency lighting portfolio that is built for today and ready for tomorrow to help you optimize savings, safety, and performance. Please visit our wide range of emergency lighting products and services on our website. Also, to stay current on the latest products news and industry information, please sign up for our monthly Contractor Corner Newsletter today.

I look forward to continuing to bring you strategic topics, like the STAR self-testing and emergency lighting, that will help you win more jobs and grow your business.

David Errigo, Director of Renovation Sales

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