Emergency Lighting: Four Facts To Face

Checking on emergency and exit lighting systems during the seasonal transition can help prepare a facility in the event of a power outage.

This winter brought brutally cold temperatures to the midwestern and northeastern U.S., with tens of thousands of customers losing power during January’s polar vortex.¹ With outages historically increasing across the U.S. during the hot summer months,² Cintas Corporation reminds organizations of the importance of testing and inspecting emergency and exit lighting ahead of summer storm season.

“Many facilities’ emergency lighting may have been utilized during the harsh winter months, and those same devices may be needed even more during the summer. Checking in on these devices during the seasonal transition can help prepare your facility for future outages,” said Taylor Brummel, marketing manager, Cintas Fire Protection. “Emergency lighting can provide important assistance during power failures by helping guide building occupants to safety.”

Cintas offers facts surrounding four common misconceptions about emergency and exit light maintenance:

Myth: Power outages occur more frequently in the winter.
Fact: Hot summer weather places greater stress on power systems, with more severe storms occurring during this time.³ Plus, demand for power increases when people turn up their air conditioning. These two factors have historically contributed to more power outages during the summer months.

Myth: Workers that are familiar with their environment would be confident navigating their facility if a power outage occurred.
Fact: Actually, a 2017 Harris Poll commissioned on behalf of Cintas surveyed 2,072 U.S. adults and found that more than a third (34%) would not feel very confident in their ability to navigate the building safely. The poll also found that if the lights went out at their place of work, 50% of U.S. adults would not feel very confident in their ability to walk up and down stairs safely.

Myth: Emergency light test and inspection requirements are the same for everyone.
Fact: Test and inspection requirements for emergency lights may vary by jurisdiction. Organizations must contact their local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to confirm they meet all applicable requirements.

Myth: AHJs regularly check in to verify that organizations are meeting applicable requirements.
Fact: In reality, AHJs may not proactively reference these requirements at all, and these visits may vary by market. Fostering a relationship with the AHJ can provide facility management a better understanding of expectations and requirements.

“As businesses prepare for the next wave of extreme weather, now is a good time to inspect and test emergency and exit lighting to address any potential issues before they occur,” said Brummel.

1 https://www.powermag.com/polar-vortex-tests-resiliency-of-u-s-power-system/
2 https://phys.org/news/2019-01-degree-days-blackouts-power-stations.html
3 http://insideenergy.org/2014/08/18/power-outages-on-the-rise-across-the-u-s/