About Certification Marks

You see them on every piece of electronics you buy — whether for personal use, business, or work. But what does that stamped UL, ETL, or CSA indicate? These are Certification Marks, and they provide assurance that you can rely on a standard of safety and performance from the products. All products sold in the United States must pass through a battery of tests performed by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) to prove that the product meets or exceeds national safety standards. Products that pass this inspection and testing process carry the Certification Mark for the laboratory that provided the testing (UL for Underwriter’s Laboratories, ETL for Intertek Testing Services, and CSA for Canadian Standards Association). It doesn’t matter which mark the product carries, as long as it is from one of the organizations that are recognized by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

 

You can be assured that all products which carry an OSHA recognized NRTL mark will comply with the various safety codes (buidling codes, electrical safety codes, municipal codes and fire codes), has been thoroughly tested by third party laboratories to strict specifications, and complies with all current standards.

 

All emergency lighting and exit signs sold by The Exit Light Company carry Certification Marks. Please see our FAQs to learn more about Certification Marks and NRTLs.

Surviving a Nightclub Fire

As the recent tragedy at the Kiss Nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil demonstrates, public fire safety continues to remain a serious problem. Any time you mix large crowds of semi-intoxicated people with low levels of lighting, minimal exits, and add smoke and fire, the result is always tragic.

 

In North America there have been several notable nightclub fires:

*Learn more about historical fires in the United States in our State by State Fire FAQs.

After fire analysis has repeatedly noted the importance of well-lit and uncluttered exit pathways, and show that the majority of deaths are usually due to smoke inhalation or trampling. Victims could have survived if they had been able to quickly and safely exit the structure.

 

The Exit Light Company reminds everyone that the sole purpose for the products that we sell (exit signs and emergency lights) is to save lives, not property. Here are some helpful tips for both patrons and business owners:

 

If you are a Patron:

  • Use common sense, don’t patronize businesses in buildings that do not look safe. Some warning signs are that the building does not have a sprinkler system, exit signs or emergency lights are broken and non-functional, or if you see that most of the exit doors are blocked or even locked (chained shut)
  • Be aware of the location of at least two exits at all times (the first being the one that you entered through)
  • Never drink so much that you will not be able to react to an emergency situation
  • If you are caught up in a crowd, it doesn’t matter if you are large and strong, try to get to a wall or to the edge of the crowd. Many deaths are dues to trample injuries
  • Try to stay low, to minimize smoke inhalation
  • If possible, cover your nose and mouth with a cloth. Use your shirt, jacket, or a napkin, if available. If you can, wet the cloth with water. Never use alcohol to wet the cloth, as alcohol is highly flammable
  • Don’t worry about your stuff (purse, backpack, etc.). It’s replaceable, you’re not
  • If you are in a group, agree on an assembly point, somewhere you can all get to safely, then don’t worry too much about keeping together
  • Move safely, and try not to trample/push others, but leave as quickly as possible
  • Stay as calm as possible, and do not give in to panic. This is easier said than done, but panicking will not help you survive

If you are a Business Owner/Facilities Manager:

  • Keep exits and exit paths clear of clutter
  • ALL doors should open outwards so that the crush of a crowd can not pin the doors closed
  • Install and maintain exit signs and exit pathway markings so that the direction of egress is readily apparent
  • Install and maintain emergency lighting so that in the event of loss of power, there will be visibility
  • Keep all emergency equipment (including exit doors) in good working order and test them regularly

*Find out more about maintenance & testing in our helpful FAQs.

Unfortunately, the Kiss Nightclub Fire will not be the last club fire, but if we all keep in mind the above safety tips, we can make sure that we do not contribute to another tragic event or do not end up as another sad statistic.

Exit Sign Mounting Configurations Explained

When deciding what type of exit signs or emergency lights to purchase, mounting configuration can play a very important role. To those not familiar with mounting configurations, the terminology can be very confusing. The following photos will help you not only to understand what each term means, but will clarify which mounting configuration is best for your installation.

 

Flush Mount / Wall Mount:

 


 
Does not involve the use of mounting canopy.  Units typically have knock-out pattern on back plate to mount directly to junction box. (May also allow for “Ceiling Mount” in emergency light fixtures only.)

 

Ceiling Mount:

 


 
Typically requires use of mounting canopy from top of fixture. Some units may further specify Drop Ceiling/New Construction or Sheet Rock/Remodel applications. Use of ceiling mount for exit signage may require double face. (May also allow for “Wall Mount” in emergency light fixtures only.)

 

Side Mount:

 


 
Sometimes confused with “Wall Mount”, side mounting typically requires use of a mounting canopy. Canopy is affixed to the side of the unit and then attached to wall. Use of side mount for exit signage may require double face.

 

Wall Mount Angle Down:

 


 
Special mounting configuration mostly limited to edge lit exit signage. May require mounting canopy affixed to the top of the unit and then attached to wall. Edge lit face then rotates down. In recessed applications, the face itself may be curved down.

 

Recessed Mount:

 


 
Commonly used for ceiling mount units in which housing is actually located above the ceiling. Some units may further specify Drop Ceiling/New Construction or Sheet Rock/Remodel applications.

 

Pendant Mount:

 


 
This configuration requires the use of a pendant kit (which may be an optional add-on). Allows ceiling mountable units to be suspended from a high or sloped ceiling to be more visible.

 

Note that not all installation configurations may be available for every sign, 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.

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.

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.

April 2009 – Featured Product Showcase

image of Cast Aluminum Exit Sign with Red lettering and Black housing

The “Featured Products” area of our storefront showcases those products that we feel are exceptional because of their value, design, or quality. We recently added a product which we feel meets all three of those criteria.

 

We are pleased to offer a line of specially priced “Cast Aluminum Exit Signs” which include self-testing diagnostic capabilities and an additional brushed aluminum faceplate at a fantastic price.

 

National safety regulations require that all exit signs be tested for functionality once every twenty-eight days for five minutes and ninety minutes every six months. This testing is time-consuming and labor intensive, especially in facilities/locations with a large number of installed signs. A self testing exit sign will perform routine self-diagnostics and warn you when there is a problem. This functionality can provide a significant cost savings over the lifetime of the product.

 

The aluminum faceplates have “knock-out” left and/or right chevrons which can be removed to indicate direction of emergency egress. The second faceplate allows for double-sided installations. The “knock-out” chevrons and double faceplates allow these signs to be fully configurable for every conceivable installation type.

 

These are exceptional values and will not last for long. What’s keeping you from enjoying the architectural beauty of cast aluminum exit signs today?

 

As always, thank you for your continued support.