Ease Power Outage Impact With Routine Maintenance

On a regular basis, facilities staff should verify that emergency lighting and other life safety systems are fully operational.

Interstate Electrical Services, an electrical services contractor serving the greater New England region, recently shared its recommendations that commercial building owners and facility managers verify their building’s emergency hallway lights and other life safety systems are fully operational and have been routinely maintained. In the event of a power outage, emergency lighting for exit paths needs to be at “full brilliancy” for at least 90 minutes, exit signs have to stay on, and the fire alarm has to remain operational, according to federal and state regulations.emergency lighting

Many office buildings have windowless areas that are difficult or impossible to traverse without an artificial light source. Emergency lighting enables occupants to see their way safely out of the building. Owners, tenants and occupants should all know how well-equipped their building is to withstand a power outage. And, key life safety questions to consider, according to Interstate Electrical Services are:

  • Do all hallways have emergency lights that illuminate an egress path out of the building to safety?
  • Is the fire alarm audible in all parts of the building?
  • Is someone checking the life safety systems, at a minimum, two times a year?
  • Do you know what the regulations are in your town or city?

Key business considerations to consider:

  • What do you need to keep the facility functioning and business operational?
  • Do you need a UPS (uninterruptible power source)?
  • Do you need a generator?
  • If you have a generator, do you have a maintenance schedule for it?
  • Do you need heat or cooling in any or all parts of the business?

“It is not uncommon for commercial buildings to fail to meet today’s fire safety standards,” says John Sloane, vice president, Central and Southern New England Service Divisions for Interstate Electrical Services. “Many people seeking commercial space are unaware of this and will take it as is, when in fact the emergency lighting, exit signs and other life-safety equipment hasn’t changed since 1980.” Sloan shares more on key life safety questions for building owners and facility managers in this interview.