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  • Secure Fire & Safety, LLC

4 Factors You Should Consider Before You Buy an Emergency Exit Sign

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

If you own a commercial business, you are required to have emergency exit signs in place. These signs tell customers and employees where the exits are in case of a fire, earthquake or other emergencies. However, many building owners make the mistake of thinking all exit signs are the same when they are not.

If you are looking to install emergency exit signs in your commercial building, here are a few of the factors you should consider to help you find the signs that are best for your building.

What Makes the Sign Glow?

One of the first decisions you will need to make when buying an emergency exit sign is what makes the sign light up or glow, here are some of the ways signs are powered:

  • Some signs are powered by electricity. Those powered by electricity must have a battery backup system in case the power goes out.

  • Some signs are powered solely by a battery.

  • Some signs are lit up by photoluminescent, a material that absorbs light and allows the sign to glow in the dark.

  • Some signs glow with the helping of tritium, a hydrogen-based gas that glows.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each option for illuminating an exit sign. Do your research to determine which is best for your space, budget and maintenance needs and then purchase the exit sign that’s right for you.

What Material Is the Sign Made of?

Another important element to consider when you are picking out emergency exit signs for your building is what material the sign is made from. Signs can be made from a variety of materials including plastic, glass, steel, aluminum and cast aluminum.

Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you are looking for an electrical sign with LED lighting, aluminum and cast aluminum can safely house these types of lights. Meanwhile, plastic and glass signs are preferred in humid or moist environments where rust and corrosion can affect signs.

Additionally, plastic and aluminum signs tend to be the cheapest. Weighing the various advantages and disadvantages of each material will help you decide what type your signs should be made from.

Does the Exit Sign Feature Emergency Lights?

Emergency exit signs are designed to help the individuals in your building find the exits in case the power goes out or it is smoky and they can't see. Another security feature that may help in an emergency situation is emergency lights.

Many emergency exit signs are made so that they have emergency lights or floodlights on them. If the sign is triggered to come on, either due to a power outage or a smoke alarm, the emergency lights will also come on.

Having emergency lights on an emergency exit sign is not legally required. However, it can help you to meet the legal requirement for separate emergency lights, while also keeping your employees and customers safe.

Does the Sign Meet Local Rules and Regulations?

The last factor that you need to consider before you purchase emergency exit signs is whether the signs meet the local rules and regulations set forth by the fire inspector and OSHA. The laws, rules and regulations vary on emergency exit lights based on the county, city and state you reside in.

Your local laws may dictate how large your exit sign needs to be, how large the letters on the sign need to be, if a specific color of light, such as red or green, needs to be used, and what material the sign has to be made from.

Always check local codes, rules and regulations so that you can ensure the signs you are buying meet the requirements in your area.

After installing emergency exit signs in a building, you will have to inspect the signs monthly and have them tested and maintained annually. You should also keep detailed records all of the inspections, testing and repairs that have been made.

If this is more than you want to take on yourself, the experts at Secure Fire & Safety LLC can handle the inspections, maintenance and record keeping on your behalf. Contact us today to get started.

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