The U.S. experiences a higher number of long-lasting power outages than any other developed country in the world. The average U.S. power customer loses power for 3.5 hours per year, whereas in Japan the average customer experiences only six minutes of power loss each year.
Would your building be prepared in the event of a power outage?
Arguably one of the most important pieces of equipment in your building during a power outage – emergency and exit lighting. This vital piece of equipment often goes unnoticed but in the event of a power outage, fire or other disaster, properly tested and maintained emergency and exit lights can save lives.
When outages occur, occupants may not be able to navigate their building safely. Areas such as stairwells, internal offices, restrooms, storage areas and other spaces with little or no natural light can be especially difficult to navigate without functional emergency lighting. Despite the importance of emergency and exit lighting, it is often overlooked once these devices have been installed within a facility. But if these units don’t function when they’re needed most
then building visitors and occupants are left in the dark and their lives are potentially being put at risk which also causes a liability issue for building owners. Building or property managers should prepare buildings for unexpected events, like power outages, whether the outage is caused by a fire, severe weather, faulty power grid equipment or another unpredictable issue. To help protect those inside your building it is important to not only install but also have a
trusted company come in to properly maintain your emergency and exit lighting.
How to maintain your emergency and exit lights
Property owners and managers are responsible for scheduling routine maintenance of their
illuminated emergency exit signs and lights. Best practices for maintenance include:
- Visually inspecting equipment on a regular basis. Look for loose or exposed wiring and make sure it is secure. Ensure that units are mounted to the wall or ceiling securely.
- Conducting regular inspections. Depending on the jurisdiction, emergency and exit lighting must undergo a functional test every month. These tests are designed to check for physical damage to the exterior of the lights and to help verify that the lights are functional at the time of the test.
- Conducting a full functional test. Depending on the jurisdiction, organizations may be required to ensure lights function under battery power for an extended period. Follow required testing procedures and check to ensure all lights remain lit under DC power. Repair or replace units that don’t function correctly for the duration of the test.
- Maintaining diligent records of inspection. Written records of inspection tests should be kept by the building owner for review by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Any lights that were not able to be tested should also be documented by location, including the reason a test could not be completed.
Power outages occur more frequently in the U.S. than many building owners and managers realize. This chart shows just how much more frequently power outages, in Texas alone, happen today than they did 10 years ago.
Installing and properly maintaining emergency and exit lighting will help provide occupants a way to safely exit a building or navigate to an area to seek shelter in the event of an emergency. Outsourcing equipment testing, inspection and repair to an experienced provider can help simplify the process and help you satisfy applicable local standards.
When it comes to building safety, functioning emergency lights are vital to the safety of your occupants and building visitors – and organizations should prioritize them, along with other elements of their life safety system.