Emergency Lighting and Exit Lighting

Imagine being in a theatre or a large building and the electrical power goes out. How would you get out? You would look for the exit sign right? What if the exit sign did not work? I predict that at least 50% of exit and emergency lighting will not function in case the power goes out. 


We all know what exit lights are but, do you know what emergency lights are? The next time you go into a building look up on the wall, up high and you will hopefully see metal boxes with two lights extending from them.  Ideally the two lights should come on automatically when the power goes out. The emergency lights are designed to be very bright in order for people to be able to exit a building with adequate lighting. But, many times they will not function like they are designed to function.  Many business owners just do not see the need to have a fire protection company inspect their exit and emergency lights annually. But, per fire code this is what is supposed to happen.


You can see many exit lights with burned areas on them. You might also notice that the green or red portion of the exit sign that says “exit” will not be lit up. Most exit signs are designed to be lit up at all times. If an exit light is not lit up when the lights and electrical are on, the exit light is not likely be to light up when the lights and power go out. If the exit light does not light up, persons inside a building may not be able to see how to get out in case of an emergency like a fire, hurricane , an explosion or other dangerous situation. This is because exit lights may function on a current of electricity when there is electrical power and on batteries when the power goes out. If an exit light is not functioning from electrical power, it is likely that the bulbs are burnt out. If this is the case they will not function on battery power either.


Emergency lights are designed to be off when the electrical power is own and functioning. You will notice that emergency lights function slightly differently from exit lights.  Most emergency lights function only on battery power. There is no way to just look up at an emergency light and determine if it will function if the electrical power goes out or is cut. The way to check to see if emergency lights will function in case of emergency is to have a professional fire protection company check each emergency light. The cost of this service can run from $9.95 to $29.95 per emergency light unit annually.  If the emergency lights need new batteries, light bulbs, or replacement of the unit, the fire protection technician will let you know what is needed.


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