Exit and Emergency Lighting

Lighting Guide


Exit signs and emergency lighting are critical components of a building’s safety system, ensuring that occupants can safely evacuate in case of an emergency. Compliance with regulations and standards is essential for the safety and legal responsibility of building owners and managers.

Regulatory Framework


The regulatory and compliance bodies are clear on emergency and exit guidelines and the placement of signs and notices as follows:

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

International Building Code (IBC)

Clark County Gov’t Building Codes and Regulations

Exit Sign General Requirements

  • Visibility: Exit signs must be clearly visible and recognizable from any point within the exit path.
  • Illumination: Signs must be illuminated at all times when the building is occupied.
  • Legibility: Letters on exit signs must be legible and at least 6 inches high with a stroke width of 3/4 inch.


Types of Exit Signage



Photoluminescent Exit Signs

            • Absorb ambient light and glow in the dark.
            • Require a reliable light source to recharge.



LED Exit Signs

            • Absorb ambient light and glow in the dark.
            • Require a reliable light source to recharge.



Incandescent and Fluorescent Exit Signs

            • Older technology, less efficient compared to LED.

            • Use of mercury in fluorescents creates a disposal hazard.



Placement and Installation


The location is considered equally important and must be placed at every exit door, stairway, change in direction, and other
egress points. In height, exit signs are typically installed above doors or at a height ensuring visibility from all directions.



Emergency Sign General Requirements


Duration is considered an important safety parameter, whereas emergency signs must provide illumination for at least 90 minutes during any power outage.
The Illumination Levels or range must be a minimum of 1 foot-candle (10.8 lux) along the path of egress.



Types of Emergency Lights



Self-Contained Lights

            • Include built-in battery packs as part of the fixture.

            • Activate automatically during a power failure.


Central Battery System

            • A centralized battery source provides power to multiple emergency lights.

            • Easier maintenance but requires more complex installation.




Generator-Driven System

  • Backup generators provide power to emergency lighting systems.
  • Suitable for large buildings or complexes.






Placement and Installation


Coverage: Emergency lighting must cover all egress paths, including corridors, stairways, and exit doors.
Mounting: Typically installed on walls or ceilings, ensuring even illumination along the egress path.


Testing & Maintenance

  • Regular Testing: Emergency lighting and exit signs must be tested regularly (monthly and annually) to ensure proper operation.
  • Maintenance: Batteries, bulbs, and other components must be checked and replaced as needed to ensure reliability.
  • Technology: Keep a watch for new technology can make your exit signs less carbon intensive, cheaper to run and safer.

Best Practices

  • Inspect: Conduct periodic inspections to ensure compliance with codes and operational readiness.
  • Record Keeping: Maintain detailed records of all tests, inspections, & maintenance activities.
  • Train: Ensure that building staff are trained to conduct inspections, tests, & understand emergency procedures.

Proper installation, maintenance, and testing of exit signs and emergency lighting systems are crucial for ensuring the safety of building occupants during emergencies. Adhering to regulatory requirements and best practices can help mitigate risks and ensure compliance with legal standards.

Commercial Lighting Specialties is your one-stop headquarters for the latest in Exit and Emergency lighting with an experienced and dedicated staff ready to help you meet any of your requirements. With the areas largest lighting inventory and a sourcing network of over 400 product partners, CLS can find it fast – and we deliver too!  Call us at (702) 384-6407, email [email protected] or use the form below.

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