Have your coworkers ever tried navigating your workplace blindfolded — during a fire? I hope not. Testing emergency lights and exit signs is important because if they don’t function properly and you have a fire at your business, getting out safely could be like being blindfolded with no one to hold your hand.
Testing is also included in the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code and National Electrical Code (NFPA 70), the most often followed standards in the United States related to fire protection. Like any other part of your fire safety system, such as a sprinkler system or fire extinguishers, these lights will be inspected by a fire inspector during a routine inspection.
Following the NFPA standards also helps you transfer some of the risk associated with fire protection to another party. Perhaps especially in hospitals, assisted living facilities, multi-family apartment buildings, condominiums and other types of buildings where people live or stay overnight, owners and operators need to be sure they are keeping their risk at a minimum.
Be sure you’re doing the right things to prevent any unnecessary risks or penalties. Here’s what you need to know about testing these key elements of your overall fire protection system.
Function and Testing Emergency Lights and Exit Signs
Emergency lights and exit signs are installed throughout your workplace to illuminate dark passages and point people toward the safest, most efficient exits in case of an emergency and/or power outage. If the layout or function of your workplace has recently changed, be sure exit signs still point occupants of your building to the safest exit door and emergency lights are still in the most useful places.
Test emergency lights and exit signs monthly to make sure they still work. Visually inspect them to be sure they are not broken and then push the test button on each light or sign to be sure batteries are operational.
A trained inspection technician should perform an annual test on your emergency lights and exit signs. During this test, the technician will perform a general visual inspection to be sure they are mounted correctly, bulbs are intact and there is no dust buildup inside the light or sign that could lead to an electronic shortage. He or she also will conduct 30-second light test, and then either a battery load test analysis or a 90-minute test.
These tests should not interfere with your business, so don’t be concerned about that possibility.
If you are behind on your annual inspection or would like to add emergency light and exit sign inspections to your regular sprinkler system annual inspection, please contact us.