Continuously Improving the Shopping Experience

The Exit Light Company strives to provide accurate and useful information to our customers and make the online shopping experience a seamless one. As part of a site redesign rollout in June 2012, our product pages were updated to be more user friendly. We have had fantastic feedback with these changes and would like to draw your attention to one of the more recent additions.

 

Battery IncludedOne question regularly asked of our Customer Service Team is: Does this unit include a battery? We’ve now provided an easy way to find the answer to this question with each product on our website displaying our “Battery Included” symbol.

 

The Battery Included symbol will appear on the Features tab of the product page, along with a variety of other symbols representing certifications and other attributes that apply for that product. If this symbol does not appear, the battery is not included (but may be available as an option for that particular product). Don’t forget to check out the Description and Technical Features tabs for additional information on the product. As always, help is available via on-line chat, phone (877-352-3948) or email (orders@exitlightco.com) from 5am-5pm PST if you have additional questions or require assistance in placing an order!

Historical Influences on Emergency Requirements

Tragedies such as the Bangladesh Clothing Factory Fire earlier this week highlight the need for emergency preparedness, including proper exit signage and emergency egress lighting. Unfortunately, a number of similar tragedies have shaped the laws and requirements throughout the United States:

 

 
  • On February 2, 1860 the six-story Elm Street Tenement in New York City caught fire killing 20. This fire along with a similar earlier fire led to a state law, the first in the nation, requiring fire escapes on all buildings over 6 stories, and multiple exits in new buildings.
  • On January 13, 1908, fire during a stage play at the Rhoads Opera House in Boyertown, Pennsylvania killed 171, one-tenth of the town’s population. As a result of the disaster, Pennsylvania’s first fire law was enacted in 1909.
  • On March 29, 1953, the Littlefield’s Nursing Home Fire in Largo, Florida claimed 33 lives. The fire shocked the community and led to statewide nursing home reforms.
 

Read about other historical events that shaped fire code requirements in your own state (as well as current code requirements) using our Fire Code Map.

What Makes Exit and Emergency Lighting “Green”?

The push to “Go Green” has been gaining steam in the past decade. From small businesses trying to save money on their electric bill to multi-billion dollar corporations needing to meet certain requirements to be labeled “eco-friendly” or “green”, everyone is buying in to the trend. Many power and utility companies offer rebate programs or other incentives for replacing inefficient lighting. No matter the circumstances, there are many benefits to doing so.


This “green” movement has also made its way into exit and emergency lighting. We are often asked for exit signs or emergency lights that carry an ENERGY STAR® rating. You may have noticed that none of our exit or emergency lighting products have the ENERGY STAR certification listed. Why?


The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) suspended the ENERGY STAR rating for exit signs on May 1, 2008. This was due to new federal standards approved by Congress for exit sign efficiency for units manufactured after January 1, 2006. The EPAct 2005 references the ENERGY STAR version 2.0 specification. In short, all exit lighting produced after this date must have an input power demand of 5 watts or less, thus ending the need for an ENERGY STAR rating in this category.


These requirements have been met by using new energy-efficient lighting sources, most popular being Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). LEDs have become the main component in exit sign illumination and in recent years have also started replacing incandescent bulbs for emergency lighting needs. You can further research the differences in lighting technologies on our FAQs page. Because of these changes, battery technology has also improved dramatically. Due to lessened power needs, smaller and more reliable Nickel Cadium (NiCad) and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries have replaced the bulky, less so Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) types. The size and weights of exit and emergency lighting units have decreased tremendously because of this, while still providing equal or, in most cases, increased performance and reliability. Other energy efficient lighting types include fluorescent, photoluminescent, radioluminescent and electroluminescent light sources.


While efficient in power usage, these improvements in lighting technology also lower maintenance costs. LEDs have a lifetime of 25+ years and NiCad batteries hold an approximate lifespan of 5 years under appropriate conditions. Although ensuring that your units are working properly with monthly, quarterly and yearly testing is still recommended (and required in some areas), the amount of time spent replacing batteries and bulbs is significantly reduced. Stay in touch for next weeks blog regarding testing recommendations!

Power Outage at Home – Are You Prepared?

Many of us have been in a situation when the power goes out at home. Sometimes this happens during daylight hours, but it can also happen at night. In most cases power is restored within an hour or two, but in extreme cases the outage may last for several hours or even days. This can be due to storm damage (such as the extended power outages in the Washington, D.C. area recently), rolling blackouts (in place in several states throughout the U.S.) or even massive power grid failures (such as the recent failure of the SDG&E grid last year). In public areas and workplaces, laws require emergency preparedness for the safety of the public, but are you prepared at home?


EL-3N1According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster preparedness website ( www.ready.gov ), the following items should be a part of your basic disaster supplies kit: water, food, radio, first aid kit, whistle, dust mask, wipes, wrench, can opener, local maps, cell phones and chargers, AND flashlights. The last item is useful for emergency lighting, which you may not consider in a residential environment. If you have a disaster supply kit, these items will be easy to locate, but what if you don’t? Our selection of residential emergency lighting may be just what you need!


The most versatile of our residential emergency lighting is the EL-3N1 (pictured at right). This light plugs into a standard outlet to operate as a night light. During a power failure, it automatically goes into emergency mode and can remain lit for up to 8 continuous hours or 100 continuous hours if set to “Power Saving Mode.” This unit can also be removed from the outlet and operated as a flashlight. Its flat bottom and side make it easy to stand or lay on a flat surface for convenience. You can also put this fully charged light into storage or a kit for up to 2 months and still be able to use it. Besides being a great option for your disaster supplies kit, it is also a great to keep in your car, boat or RV for camping, biking, hiking or even night-time fishing!


For further options on residential emergency lighting, including options for nursing homes, you can review our full selection here. You may also contact our customer service department at 877-352-3948 for assistance.


How to Buy an Exit Sign

Confused? We’ve Got You Covered!

 

Our customers’ needs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are replacing an old exit sign, some are putting up fire exit signs where none existed before and some still haven’t finished construction on the building! No matter what situation brought you here, it can be overwhelming to sort through the selection of exit signs available.

 

First things first: Have you consulted your local building inspector or fire marshal? Even if you’ve never been inspected before, conforming with local building and fire codes is mandatory. Therefore understanding local building and fire codes will prove to be invaluable. Check out our Fire Exit Codes & Regulations section. Consider the following questions:

 

Are there any color or materials requirements my exit signs have to meet?

Certain locales require that exit signs have red lettering, others require green lettering, others allow either but may require consistency within a facility (all green or all red). Some locales require that exit signs be enclosed in steel enclosures, other allow fire-retardant plastic, etc. The City of Chicago require steel exit signs with a glass face. The New York City requires that exit signs have 8” red lettering and be enclosed in durable steel housing. Make sure you are not subject to some of these very limiting requirements.

How many and/or in what areas are exit signs required?

General requirements state that any exit be marked accordingly, but some codes require marking of the “route” to get to the exit as well.

Is there a particular certification my signs need to carry?

The most widely used certification agency in the United States is Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), but some areas require ETL SEMKO certification or other certifications that are more specific. Canada requires a certification from the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

Are there certain types of units that are prohibited?

Some codes require that your units be hardwired (eliminating power-free choices) or a certain color/material (see question 1).

Once you have gathered the above information from your local authority, it is time for you to make some decisions of your own:

 

Do I have a particular look in mind?

Your local codes may not require it, but perhaps a brushed cast-aluminum sign with lettering fits best with your décor. Maybe you’ve seen an edge lit sign in your favorite store and liked the look, it’s up to you!

Do I have size constraints and/or how do I plan to mount my units?

This question alone may limit your selection to only a few items. Remember that certain mounting configurations may require the use of a mounting canopy that adds 1-2” to the height or width of your sign.
 
This question also encompasses limitations such as a sheet rock, drop or low ceiling.

Will these units be subject to abuse or hazardous environments?

In areas such as schools, gyms, warehouses and parking structures, exits signs may be subject to vandalism, damage from sports equipment and other types of situations which would limit your selection to heavy duty construction or protection such as a wire guard.
 
If installing in areas where the units will be exposed to chemicals, abrasive substances or other hazardous materials, your selection should be limited to units “rated” or qualified for installation in these environments.

By now you will have gathered enough information to narrow your choices to maybe even just one unit! If you are having trouble navigating our site – feel free to contact one of our award winning customer service professionals via phone, email or live chat with your requirements and we will be happy to assist you.

Exit Light Company Recognized In “Second 500 Largest E-Retailers”

The Exit Light Company is proud to announce its inclusion in Internet Retailer’s Second 500 Largest E-Retailers July 2011 issue. The ranking is based on growth, size, category and sales of e-retailers nationwide.

 

Jeannette Carrico, Exit Light Company CEO, said “We could not have achieved this honor without our loyal customer base and excellent staff. We strive to provide exceptional products and customer service support, which in turn allows our business to continue to grow.”

Fire Exit Signs to meet to Federal, State and Local fire codes

Fire Exit Signs, commonly known as exit signs, aid in the emergency egress of building occupants during a fire by providing a lighted version of the word EXIT. Federal, state and local building codes require fire exit signs in all public and commercial facilities. These building codes stipulate the installation locations and placement for fire exit signs throughout the building and the type of fire exit sign that must be installed.

 

While all fire exit signs are required to be illuminated, not all models require electricity. UL 924 listed fire exit signs are available in AC powered, non-electric self luminous Tritium or photoluminescent models all of which are compliant for use in the United States and Canada.

Power Free, Photoluminescent “glow-in-the-dark” Exit Signs

Image of UL 924 listed photoluminescent exit signPhotoluminescent signs, often referred to as “glow-in-the-dark” signs, absorb and store energy from normal ambient light, then release this energy in the form of a visible glow when the lights go out. Photoluminescent products automatically recharge once the lights are turned on, requiring approximately 60 minutes of exposure to 5 foot-candles or 54 LUX of natural light, fluorescent, metal halide or mercury vapor light. [ A 100W incandescent bulb produces about 1750 lumens or 137 foot-candles. A 23 watt fluorescent light produces about 1600 lumens or 125 foot-candles. ]

 

In the event of a power failure UL 924 listed photoluminescent exit signs are immediately visible from a distance of 50 to 75 feet. Current photoluminescent materials have a much longer and brighter glow compared to old materials, helping to speed evacuation during a lights-out emergency.

 

This failsafe technology works without electricity. Photoluminescent exit signs are completely power free, requiring no electricity (AC) or batter power to operate. Since no electrical connection is required, installation is very easy. Plus, with no power consumption, no electronics, no batteries to replace and no bulbs to burn out or break, these signs provide zero operational or maintenance costs over the lifetime of the product. Industrial-grade photoluminescent tapes and signs are designed to withstand normal wear and tear, making them a reliable solution that is “always ready” in an emergency.

 

A Proven Solution

Shortly after the tragic events of September 11th, the National Institute of Standards and Technology conducted an investigation into the evacuation process at the World Trade Center. According to the investigation, existing photoluminescent markings in the stairwells was one of the most commonly reported forms of aid in evacuating the buildings. As a result, the city of New York passed Local Law 26, requiring the installation of photoluminescent exit signs and floor level exit pathway markings in all commercial high rise buildings over 75 feet tall. Residential, hospital, hotel and educational buildings are installing photoluminescent exit signs and egress markings on a voluntary basis.

 

We recommend photoluminescent fixtures and markings as a reliable, energy efficient and cost effective solution to prepare for a lights-out emergency in your facility.

Demystifying power-free, self luminous, Tritium Exit Signs

Self-luminous EXIT signs containing the radioactive gas tritium are widely used in a variety of facilities across the United States, such as public and private office buildings, theaters, stores, schools and churches – anywhere the public needs a rapid exit path. Those who possess tritium EXIT signs are general licensees of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or an Agreement State, and are subject to certain reporting and handling requirements, including proper disposal of unwanted or unused signs. Tritium EXIT signs pose little or no threat to public health and safety and do not constitute a security risk.” — United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Fact Sheet on Tritium EXIT signs

Are Tritium Exit Signs bright enough?

While tritium lamps are not visible when normal lighting is on in a building, the UL 924 required contrast ration of the face color makes the exit sign very visible when the normal lighting is off. In fact, the brightness of a Tritium Exit sign is over double the minimum requirement set by UL 924.

 

Are Tritium Exit Signs UL 924 approved?

Yes, all tritium exit signs sold by The Exit Light Company have a UL 924 listing for exit signs.

 

Which types of installations are ideal for Tritium Exit Signs?

Tritium is a perfect choice when: there is not enough ambient light to charge a photoluminescent sign; there is no electrical power supply to the location; environments where electricity could ignite particles in the environment; where zero power consumption and no maintenance cost is desired.

What is the real purpose behind lighted LED exit signs?

Power outages occur in businesses, educational and medical facilities across the country every day. Are you prepared for such an emergency? Many people think that the sole purpose of an exit sign is to mark stairwells and building exits. However, that is only a secondary purpose for lighted LED exit signs.

 

Image of lighted red LED exit signThe real function of lighted LED exit signs is to allow you to find the exit or emergency egress route in the event of an emergency situation. Many times a power outage can be the result of a fire in the building. In such cases, finding the emergency exits can be complicated not only by a loss of power but from the presence of smoke in emergency egress routes. Under these circumstances, lighted exits signs powered by rechargeable backup batteries can literally save lives by allowing individuals to safely exit the building.

 

Most relevant codes (fire, building, health or safety) require exit signs to be permanently lit. The use of light-emitting diode (LED) technology provides brighter illumination than incandescent lamps, resulting in better visibility in a fire situation. LED exit signs also consume much less energy than traditional incandescent models, typically requiring about 4 watts of power to operate. This results in significant cost savings over the life span of the fixture, especially considering that LEDs have a very long life and may last for 10 or more years of continuous use.