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Why Emergency and Exit Lighting is Crucial for Commercial Buildings.

Why Emergency and Exit Lighting is Crucial for Commercial Buildings.

Tragic Events Drive Change

On March 25th, a fire at a youth club in São Paulo, Brazil killed 242 people, including 194 teenagers. This shocking atrocity put the spotlight on emergency and exit lighting in commercial buildings across the world. The lack of illumination was one of the key factors which led to this disaster. Emergency lighting provisions not only enable you to see where you are going during an emergency, but they can also save your life.

No one wants to think they’re going to need emergency or exit lighting, but it’s a lot different dealing with a fire in your office building when you have no way of making it out of the building. Emergency or exit lighting is crucial for commercial buildings and other places where people gather.

To help protect those inside a commercial building or facility installing and maintaining emergency and exit lighting is important.

To ensure you are meeting your fire safety obligations as an owner or manager of commercial buildings in Australia, you need to comply with AS2293.1 – 2005 Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings (This Standard specifies the requirements for the design and installation of systems of emergency escape lighting and illuminated exit signage intended to illuminate upon failure of supply to the normal lighting. It includes requirements specific to central battery and single point/self contained arrangements)

Additionally

  1. Constructional (including appearance) requirements for emergency escape luminaires and exit signs. These requirements can be found in AS 2293.3 -2005
  2. Requirements for maintaining an emergency escape lighting installation once installed. These requirements can be found in AS/NZS 2293.2.
  3. Specification of the types of buildings or particular spaces that are required to be provided with emergency escape lighting. This is typically set out in the National Construction Code (NCC).
  4. Requirements for emergency evacuation lighting of the interior of lift cars. These requirements can be found in AS 1735.
  5. Requirements for high-risk task area lighting.
  6. Requirements for standby lighting.

Would your building be prepared in the event of a power outage?

Just as seatbelts and airbags must be working properly in case of a car accident, so should alarms, extinguishers and other equipment during a fire, power outage or other disaster. However, one of the most broadly applicable – and therefore one of the foremost – life safety solutions that often goes unnoticed is emergency and exit lighting.

Fortunately, there are ways to enhance the building structure and mitigate these risks. Inspectors know that exit signs, emergency lighting, and fire alarm systems are a part of that process. With the addition of interspersed occupant counting systems on a routine basis, violations will be caught before they can lead to a tragedy or a major fine. The addition of regular high-tech audits and inspections is a means of proactively maintaining safety protocols both within commercial buildings and in residential construction.

The Lifesaving Power of Light

The workplace is a busy place, and people are constantly on the move.

That’s why it’s so important to have a plan in place for all possible emergencies and disasters. If a building experiences a power outage, for example, what will you do? Do you have the right lighting installed in your building to ensure that employees can still navigate safely and effectively during this time?

Surveys of adults ages 18 and older found that more than a third (34 percent) of Australian workers would lack confidence in their ability to navigate their workplace safely in the event of a power outage. More specifically, if a workplace power outage occurred, 50 percent of adults would lack confidence in their ability to walk up and down stairways safely.

Additionally, 42 percent would not be confident in their ability to calmly execute their workplaces’ emergency plan. The results of these surveys show that people regard lighting as an important safety resource when a building goes dark. Emergency lighting helps people to see clearly, avoid obstacles, locate equipment and navigate effectively throughout a building during an unexpected event like power outages.

Illuminating the path to safety

Despite the importance of emergency and exit lighting, it is often overlooked once these devices have been installed within a facility. If these units don’t function when they’re needed most, building visitors and occupants are left in the dark.

Property owners and managers are responsible for scheduling and/or performing maintenance of their illuminated emergency exit signs and lights. They also play an integral role in ensuring that all other areas of their buildings are well-lit to ensure that everyone is safe during an emergency evacuation situation.

However, there are many challenges associated with this task. For example, how can you determine if every exit sign is working properly? Or what about all those other lights throughout your building? Do they need to be replaced or repaired? This can be a daunting task for any property owner or manager because it requires them to constantly check each one individually.

Fortunately, there is now an easier way for them to manage everything: technology! Not only does it allow you to check multiple areas at once but it also allows you to track when they were last inspected so you know if any repairs need done right away!

Technology can help improve fire safety (in particular, emergency evacuation) and inspections in commercial buildings.

Technology has allowed building owners and managers to see the bigger picture and make informed decisions about their buildings.

Inspections are no longer a matter of a checklist and a few photographs. Here’s how technology is improving the inspection process:

– Smart databases that have been standardized can share information on their own and save building owners money by detecting isolated equipment failures as examples of a recall on machinery.

– It’s easier than ever before to discover that isolated complaints about fire alarms or emergency doors installed by the same contractor are actually examples of a defect in those products.

Best practices for maintenance include:

Life safety and building inspections are critical to the safety of your building, your employees, and your customers. A proper inspection schedule will help ensure that all life safety systems are functioning correctly and that there are no issues with electrical system maintenance.

To ensure compliance with local, state, and federal regulations, it’s important to conduct regular inspections of emergency power generators and emergency lighting systems.

Regularly visually inspecting equipment on a regular basis is the first step to ensuring that emergency power generators and emergency lighting systems are functioning properly. Conducting regular inspections is also recommended. 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.

You should also conduct a full functional test every three years or as required by local law depending on location or jurisdiction. It’s important that these tests include checking under battery power for an extended period as well as DC power testing so they can be complete without interruption or damage from wiring or equipment failure during testing procedures.

You should keep diligent records

Emergency and exit lighting is a crucial component of any building’s overall safety plan.

Power outages occur more frequently than most building owners and managers realize. When the power goes out, it’s important to have emergency lighting in place that 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.

In addition to providing illumination during an emergency situation, effective emergency lighting also helps maintain occupant comfort and assists with energy savings by reducing the need for artificial lighting during normal operations.

Emergency lighting has a vital role in helping building occupants evacuate or go to a designated safe area in an emergency. In recent years, technology has made it possible to easily update and manage testing of these systems across large portfolios of buildings. Ongoing maintenance is critical to the safety of humans, and technology can help ensure that your organization’s lights do their job when they’re needed most.

Need help with your commercial buildings emergency and exit lighting? Contact your professionals at Complete Fire and Pumps today!

Dedicated To Your Fire Safety

Alex

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