02/07/2006

Building Owners Should Go Beyond Emergency Lighting Codes

Many building owners and managers want to do everything they can to maximize safety in their facilities, but don’t know where to begin

 

Safety En Masse
No matter how many safety features you have in place, none is more powerful than an informed public. Periodically instruct personnel on safety features and protocols, including the location of all building exits. Run drills when necessary. Inform patrons of exit and escape paths - either verbally as they enter your establishment, or graphically with printed escape maps in highly visible locations.

Building owners and operators can go a long way toward ensuring the safety of their employees and customers, but individuals must also be vigilant.

Most commercial buildings meet current safety codes for exit and emergency lighting. But does that make them safe? Given the recent state of catastrophic events in the United States, that answer may be “no.” Existing codes do not begin to reflect the state-of-the-art in building safety. Current technology has far surpassed many state and local codes; it’s recommended that building owners be proactive and go beyond minimum code requirements to make their buildings as safe as possible.

Many building owners and managers want to do everything they can to maximize safety in their facilities, but don’t know where to begin. For these facilities professionals, some specific suggestions follow:

LED Exit Signs. Exit signage is required by code above all doorways, corridors, and other exits. But, in the case of fire, smoke rising to the ceiling can often block these signs. Consider installing additional exit signage at floor level. The Quincy, MA-based National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends mounting these low-level signs between 6 and 8 inches from the floor. It’s also suggested that emergency signage “speak” the same language as your patrons. For example, if your clientele is predominately Spanish-speaking, additional exit signs that read “salida” can (and should) be installed.

Alternative lighting sources can provide long-lasting, energy-efficient emergency lighting and signage that offers solid-state reliability and requires less maintenance and less battery draw from back-up sources. Exit signs that employ LEDs (light-emitting diodes) as a light source have a significantly longer lifespan than conventional lights and present less chance of failing at a critical time. In addition, the use of LEDs provides uniform illumination - which testing has shown increases visibility and readability.

“Smart” Emergency Lighting. State-of-the-art technology has provided us with several “smart” options for emergency lighting and exit signs. Safety product maintenance can be a time-consuming and expensive part of operation, with codes requiring system testing every 30, 60, or 90 days. Self-diagnostic features available today monitor battery voltage, lamp continuity, incoming utility power, and unit performance every 10 seconds, alerting you to a component problem almost immediately.

LED Pathway Lighting & Step Lighting. Movie theaters are an excellent example of how to use pathway and step lighting to safely exit people from a dark room. Equipping your business with such features increases the chance that people will be able to leave the premises safely.

Ballast Switches. Ballast switches essentially turn everyday fluorescent lighting into emergency lighting. Emergency ballasts are compact battery packs that snap into your existing features. If power fails, each ballast will provide 90 to 120 minutes of emergency runtime for either one or two lamps. When installed along corridors or other key escape paths, this lighting will afford your patrons invaluable visibility to exit safely.

A good place to evaluate your current safety program - or implement a new one - is with the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 101®: Life Safety Code. Visit (www.nfpa.org) for more information.

Robert P. Cross is president at Providence, RI-based Mule Lighting (www.mulelighting.com).

 

 


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Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

 


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

 

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com


 
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