A Look at LiFePO4 Batteries and Some Exciting New Products from The Exit Light Co

The Exit Light Co has recently released four new products containing LiFePO4 batteries.

  • The EL-THO, a high-output, low-profile LED emergency light, packing a walloping 600 lumens per head. Includes a remote head capable option.
  • The BRAND NEW EL-SBHO, a super bright, emergency light. A powerful lighting choice with 1590 lumens. Includes a self-testing option and adjustable lamp heads.
  • The newest member of our stylish architectural line, the EL-DEC.  This light features two operation modes: Photocell mode automatically activates the light when lighting is low and deactivates it when exposed to sufficient light. In Wall Switch mode, users can manually control the light using a switch.
  • We can’t forget our ever-popular weatherproof emergency light, the EL-WETLED. Two models contain the LiFePO4 battery; the cold weather unit with an internal heater and the new self-testing, high-output model.

What is a LiFePO4 battery?

LiFePO4 is a lithium-iron phosphate battery. These batteries share traits with other lithium-ion batteries with some notable differences.

Why choose LiFePO4 batteries?

Aging and Cycle-life Characteristics: LiFePO4 batteries, or LFPs, boast a significantly extended cycle life compared to other lithium-ion formulations, meaning the batteries can withstand more discharges and charges. Under typical conditions, it supports more than 3,000 cycles, and under optimal conditions, it supports more than 10,000 cycles. In comparison, NMC batteries support about 1,000 to 2,300 cycles. LFP cells also experience a slower rate of capacity loss, meaning they last longer.

Safety: Stories of exploding electrical scooters, laptop chargers igniting, and five-alarm fires have many concerned about the safety of lithium-ion batteries. LiFePo4 batteries have a different formulation and are lithium-iron phosphate batteries. This formulation is fire-safe and very resistant to overheating. These batteries are also equipped with an integrated safeguarding mechanism, referred to as a battery management system (BMS), which prevents overcharge, over-discharge, and short-circuiting.

Operational Temperature: These batteries operate at a wide range of temperatures, making them suitable for most emergency lighting applications. Generally, LiFePO4 batteries can operate at a temperature between -4°F and 140°F. Optimal performance is achieved between 32°F and 113°F. Please note: Operational temperature will depend on the specific battery and its design. It is not recommended to charge the battery when it’s at or below freezing. This will permanently damage the battery. Some batteries have internal heaters to operate in freezing temperatures.

In review, LiFePO4 batteries are a safe, reliable and longer lasting alternative to both nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd) and lithium ion (Li-Ion) batteries. As lighting and battery technologies progress, it makes for an energy efficient and safer future in life safety products.

ADA History- The Journey to Our Present

Recently, The Exit Light Co has introduced our own line of ADA signs to fill this important role in the market. Made with top quality materials and adhering to code-mandated requirements, it seemed like a natural extension of our life-safety product offering. Here is a brief history of the ADA sign.

The signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act had a dramatic impact on the lives of millions of Americans. Before its introduction, many people struggled to access basic services. Buildings, sidewalks, restrooms, and public transit proved to be difficult to navigate or, for some, completely unusable.

Section 504

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was the first federal civil rights protection law for people with disabilities. Section 504 prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities under any programs receiving federal funding. Prior to its introduction, some children were completely excluded from schools. This law has a notable impact on public education opportunities to this day. Nevertheless, many Americans still could not access businesses that serve the public such as churches, theaters, restaurants, hotels, gyms, private schools, and shops.

Americans with Disabilities Act

For decades activists fought for increased rights and to uphold those granted under 504.  The ADA bill was first introduced in 1989. Activists became frustrated when the bill was stalled. On March 13, 1990 over 1,000 people marched from the White House to the U.S Capitol in protest. In a powerful display, about 60 of the participants then abandoned their wheelchairs and mobility devices to crawl up the 83 steps leading to the Capitol. This became known as the “Capitol Crawl” and helped push legislation forward. A few months later the bill was signed into law.

Our World Today

The ADA changed the way our world is built. Ramps, elevators, sidewalks, public transit, and restrooms have all been adjusted to ensure everyone has access. Public communications now include interpreters and closed captioning. This law also opened up jobs for many Americans by prohibiting discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the workplace.

Today publicly accessible buildings include signs designed to help the visually impaired navigate public spaces. These signs include raised lettering, Braille, and sometimes a pictogram. They help those with and without visual impairments to locate, offices, restrooms, stairs, and much more.

Click here to see our line of ADA compliant signs.

A Brief History of the EXIT Sign

They are everywhere! “EXIT Signs” are so ubiquitous that most people rarely ever pay attention to them. Even so, all public buildings (restaurants, offices, and even large residential buildings like hotels or multi-unit condos) are required to have emergency lighting and exit signage to clearly illuminate egress locations and provide well-lit, easy to follow direction to them. In the event of an emergency, when every second counts, they provide a potentially life-saving path to quickly get out of the building.

Yet these signs did not exist a little over 100 years ago. It took a deadly industrial accident, one of the worst in American history, to bring about the changes to code and regulations resulting in the EXIT sign.

On March 25, 1911 a fire burst out in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, located on the 8th, 9th, and 10th floors of the Asch building in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. This event would go down in history as one of the deadliest fires ever, with 146 garment workers losing their lives. 

Many of those who died fell or leapt to their deaths, being unable to get out of the burning areas of the building. It turned out that the stairwell doors had been padlocked, a common practice of the times, to discourage employees from stealing product or leaving early.

The resulting media coverage and public outcry led to the establishment of new fire safety regulations including new standards regarding building egress.

Following the recommendations of the state commission, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) ratified codes for the first Exit signs. The NFPA had been founded in 1895 by a coalition of Insurance companies. Their purpose was to establish a standardized set of guidelines to help reduce and hopefully eliminate death, injury and economic loss caused by fire. The NFPA guidelines and codes were codified into the basic building codes and standards used throughout the US today. Similar regulations are also used throughout the world.

The Exit Light Company has compiled some useful history and data behind the various codes and regulations. [ https://www.exitlightco.com/Fire-Codes-Regulations.html ]

So the next time you are in a public building, take a minute to look around and make note of the exit signs. Remember, they are there for your safety.

Battle of the Power Free Exit Signs: Tritium vs. Photoluminescent

Which Power-Free Exit Sign is Right for You?

Picture the scene… a centuries old brick building receives the designation as a protected historical site. The owners want to open a museum on the premises and begin the daunting task of bringing it up to code for public use. The fire marshal says all that’s left is the matter of egress lighting…

What to do? An exit sign is required to be mounted on that beautiful brick wall but there is no electricity at that location.

Many find themselves in this predicament, whether it’s a historical site or not. Do you really want to shell out upwards of $1000 to have an electrician run power to a location that doesn’t have it? There must be a better way right?

Enter the Power-Free Exit Sign options

Tritium Exit Signs

In the blue corner we have the self-luminous tritium exit sign. These signs are lit by tritium gas, which is contained within hermetically sealed, phosphor-lined glass tubes. Electrons emitted by the gas bombard the phosphor causing it to produce illumination. This all happens without the need for any outside power or intervention. It’s the same technology used in watch hands and firearm optics. Click here to see our full line of tritium exit signs.

Tritium Pros:

  • Set and forget – truly self-contained and maintenance free
  • Easy installation – no electrician needed
  • Code compliant – meets UL924 and NFPA 101 life safety standards

Tritium Cons:

  • High cost – starting in the upper $200’s, there is a high entry cost
  • Disposal – the costs don’t stop at the purchase price. Once the lifespan has expired, there is a high cost for disposal as well
  • Paperwork – due to their nature, these need to be registered with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Photoluminescent Exit Signs

In the red corner we have the photoluminescent exit sign. Made with photoluminescent pigments, these signs can absorb and store energy from ambient light. In the case of sudden darkness, such as a power outage, the photoluminescent material is immediately visible. Think ‘glow-in-the-dark’ toys from childhood, only much better quality. Click here to see our full line of UL listed photoluminescent exit signs.

Photoluminescent Pros:

  • Set and forget – maintenance free. No need for batteries, bulbs or even testing
  • Easy installation – no electrician needed
  • Code compliant – meets UL924 and NFPA 101 life safety standards
  • Low cost – UL Listed exit signs starting in the $40 range, so these offer the most value when installation costs are factored in

Photoluminescent Cons:

  • Light charging – 54 lux light requirement at installation location needed to maintain the “charge” of the photoluminescent pigment (light can be from manmade or natural sources), so these are not suitable for dark locations

And the Winner is…

In our opinion, the low cost and ease of installation make photoluminescent exit signs the clear winner. The one caveat is the light requirement needed to keep the photoluminescent material functioning correctly. There is a place for tritium where this light is not available, but the high initial cost as well as price of disposal make it a harder pill to swallow. If you have any questions, please contact our award winning customer service team at 877-352-3948.

Home Security and Safety – Don’t forget the Basics

Home security isn’t just locks on a door or an alarm system. It’s also about feeling safe, and one of the simplest ways to do that is to have adequate lighting. While many homes are well-lit, they are limited by one thing, having a home that is connected to a functioning power grid. As recent events in Texas have shown, even living in a modern, first world city does not protect against long lasting power outages.

Having working lighting is something we all take for granted. It allows up to see what is going on around our house, and allows us to move safely from room to room. It also lets others know that this house is occupied, and that visitors (especially unwanted visitors) will easily be seen.

The best lighting is lighting that you don’t have to think about. Easily and affordably improve security and safety by adding emergency lighting to your home. Even during a power outage the following products let you see what’s going on and allow you to safely navigate your surroundings.

Our Emergency Table Lamp provides easy emergency lighting for up to 200 hours, but can also be picked up and used as a portable light source. As an added feature, it can be used as a battery source for any other device that can charge from USB, USB-C, micro-USB or lighting connectors (via included 3-in-1 USB charging cable). It even includes a bottom hook for easy mounting, so setting up several of these for lighting larger areas is a snap.

Even a basic source of lighting, such as a flashlight, can be invaluable and provide a much needed sense of security. View our entire line of residential emergency lighting products. Some of these lights even stay permanently plugged in (to stay charged) and turn on automatically in the event of power failure.

Finally, make sure you know:

1) Where your emergency lights are located. Make sure you return your lights to where they belong after use.

 2) That the battery is charged. Regularly check that the emergency light works (once a quarter). Even though a device is plugged in, it may not be getting power, for example (imagine fumbling around in the dark for a flashlight or, even worse, batteries).

With a little bit of planning you will find that surprisingly affordable solutions are available to help keep your home safe and secure, and well lit.

For additional safety and security suggestions, please check out the following article we were featured in at https://www.redfin.com/blog/fortify-home-without-alarm/.

The Exit Light Company, Inc.

The Exit Light Co., Inc. Expands Mid-West Operations

In May we moved our operations in Wichita to a new, larger location in order to better serve our Mid-West customer base. The increased space allows us to stock more SKU’s at higher volume. As always, we still ship most orders same day and are dedicated to providing life-safety equipment to you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if we can assist you with your emergency lighting needs.

Emergency Lights for Homes

The Exit Light Company is proud to feature a selection of Emergency Lighting for Homes. These multi-purpose lanterns and flashlights are kept ready through standard AC outlet or USB charging ports, and can provide hours of light in the event of power outages. For longer outages, they can be further recharged with USB power banks or direct solar.

Home Emergency Lighting

These multi-function devices are useful for more than just emergency backup lighting. They provide plenty of light for camping and hiking, or can even function as everyday work/task lights, as well.

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.   In 2019 alone, power outages have left over 15 million people without power in the United States alone (eia.gov) .  This can be due to storm damage, rolling blackouts (in place in several states throughout the U.S.) or even massive power grid failures. In public areas and workplaces, laws require emergency preparedness for the safety of the public, but are you prepared at home?

Continue reading “Power Outage at Home – Are You Prepared?” »

Emergency Lighting and UL 924 – What do you need to know?

Understanding the UL 924 standards

While shopping for emergency lighting fixtures or exit signs, you have probably seen that many products come with a label or description that says “UL 924 listed”. In this post, we’re going to briefly discuss what UL 924 means, what the UL 924 requirements are, and why Emergency Exit Signs and Lights with this certification are encouraged. 

What does UL 924 mean?

The Underwriters Laboratory (UL) is an independent testing organization established in 1894 that provides testing and safety certifications for all types of products, components and materials. UL 924 is the Underwriters Laboratory “Standard for Safety of Emergency Lighting and Power Equipment.”

When you see “UL 924 Listed” or “UL Listed”, this means that a product and all of its components have been tested and reviewed by the Underwriters Laboratory, and has been certified to meet or exceed specific safety, electrical and fire hazard codes required for all commercial properties in the United States.*

Continue reading “Emergency Lighting and UL 924 – What do you need to know?” »