This exclusive article has been provided by Streamlight
Whether the cause is natural or man-made, for emergencies that result in major power loss, it’s wise to plan for scenarios where even backup power systems fail. Portable lights hold the key.
Would you be ready if your building’s occupants suddenly had to evacuate your facility in total darkness? In the event of a total power blackout or other crisis where even your facility’s emergency back-up generator may fail, portable flashlights may be the only way for evacuees to light their way to safety in pitch-dark or smoke-filled conditions. As such, no evacuation plan should be considered complete without adequate provisions for emergency portable lighting.
Typically, no one light works well in all situations. Taking the time to analyze the specific requirements of your building will greatly assist you in the selection of the right portable lights for use in emergencies. Following are several tips for selecting lights for use under most extreme low-light and/or potentially hazardous conditions:
•Rechargeable lights that go the distance. Consider furnishing each floor with “smart” power failure lights that can be easily located by evacuees. Equipped with special circuitry that automatically goes on when the power goes off, these wall-mounted lights can be quickly removed from their charging unit to provide up to 9 hours of continuous lighting. Rechargeable lights also tend to burn brighter than those that use disposable batteries.
•Dependable lighting that’s there when you need it most. If selecting non-rechargeable lights, pick those that use long-lasting batteries to ensure flawless operation even after long periods of non-use. Lights equipped with alkaline or lithium batteries, for example, have a shelf life of nearly six or 10 years, respectively, providing assurance that they will work even after long-term storage. Non-rechargeables also offer generally longer run times than rechargeable models.
•LEDs offer extraordinary bulb life and reliability. Battery-saving light emitting diodes (LEDs) have an almost infinite life – up to 100,000 hours — ensuring continuous illumination during long periods of extended use, without sacrificing brightness. Super High Flux Luxeon LEDs even offer the long life and reliability of an LED with the brightness and range of a conventional bulb – up to 10 times brighter than a standard high-intensity LED. One drawback of LEDs, however, is that they do not project as strong a beam over a long distance.
•Safety and reliability under a variety of emergency conditions. Another safety consideration is the flashlight casing itself. Bodies fabricated from polymer engineering resin materials are virtually indestructible, shock resistant and non-conductive, potentially important considerations in emergency situations. Polymers also do not retain heat, making them ideal for use where fire may be present.
•Safety rated for hazardous locations. Because flashlights can act as a source of ignition in the presence of fire or ignitable gases or liquids, choosing the correct light requires a thorough understanding of your work environment and how the light will be used in both normal as well as emergency conditions. When selecting any portable light, facilities managers should make sure it carries the proper approval ratings by leading independent laboratories such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., Factory Mutual Research Corporation, and Demko.
•Educate personnel on where lights are stored. Once procured, be sure to inform all personnel of the location of emergency portable lights in their work areas, and reinforce this information through regular training. Consider posting signs to identify power failure lighting units and the location of other emergency lighting.
•Inspect lights regularly. It’s also essential to inspect and test emergency lights routinely. Add portable flashlights to your facility’s scheduled preventative maintenance program.
In the best of all worlds, your building’s occupants will never need to rely on emergency lighting. But, if and when the lights go out, you’ll be glad your building is equipped with state-of-the-art, dependable emergency lighting that facilitates safe evacuations.