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Emergency Lighting and Power Outages
The lights go out for an average of 15 million power customers each year and a recent Harris Poll found that more than a third (34 percent) of U.S. adults would not feel very confident in their ability to navigate a building safely following a power loss. Back-up exit and emergency lighting is designed to function automatically when power is lost, and Cintas Corporation reminds organizations of the importance of maintaining these often overlooked safety devices.
“Power outages occur more often in the U.S. than any other developed nation in the world,” says Taylor Brummel, marketing manager with Cintas Fire Protection. “The number of harsh storms is also on the rise, averaging between 70 and 130 per year. When outages occur, having properly maintained emergency lighting helps ensure building occupant safety.”
With the summer storm season upon us, property owners and facility managers should consider the following preventative maintenance:
Visually inspect equipment regularly – Look for loose or exposed wiring and make sure it is secure. Ensure that units are mounted to the wall or ceiling securely. Conduct 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.
Conduct 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.
Maintain 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.
It is important to note that inspection and testing requirements for emergency lights may vary by jurisdiction. Accordingly, organizations should contact their local AHJ to confirm they are satisfying all applicable requirements.