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What to Expect During an Exit and Emergency Light Inspection

Last Updated: September 20, 2015

Whether you manage a school in Tennessee or a commercial office building in Mississippi, it is important to prepare your building in case of an emergency. This includes making sure you have fire extinguishers, have an evacuation plan, and ensure exit and emergency lights will stay lit during a power failure.

Emergency exit lights are not only required by law for commercial buildings, but are important for the safety of your employees or guests. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101 Life Safety Code requires that all industrial emergency lighting and exit lighting devices be inspected monthly and tested annually. A regular emergency and exit light inspection will help ensure your building is prepared for an emergency and your customers or employees can seek an exit safely.

How Do Exit and Emergency Lights Work?

In an emergency, smoke could spread or the lights could fail, causing you to lose vision and have a hard time locating an exit. That’s where emergency and exit lights come in. Emergency exit lights have two sets of bulbs—one works through normal power and the other is powered by batteries. When the power fails, the battery kicks on to provide bright red lighting. In some large commercial buildings, instead of being powered by a battery, the lights are powered by a backup generator.

Because it is hard to tell if the backup power source is working, monthly inspections and annual testing must be done to assure your lights are working and everyone can exit the building safely no matter what.

Types of Inspections and Tests

Whether you are looking to complete your monthly inspection or your annual test, there are several items you can expect your inspector to explore during his or her visit.

Visual Inspection

A visual inspection should be conducted once a month to ensure your exit and emergency lights are working properly. During this test, a fire protection technician will:

  • Test integrity of lights and batteries through the test button
  • Check for physical damage, including exposed wires or loose parts
  • Align the beam and tighten if necessary
  • Check AC electrical connection and charge lamps as needed

Discharge Test

During a discharge test, the inspector will discharge the battery life fully in a test situation and then observe if the batteries recharge fully once power is restored. The technician will also check the battery for any corrosion or damage, clean the unit and lens, and readjust the beam for proper placement. This test is also known as a 90-minute test.

Activation Test

During an activation test, the inspector observes that the emergency lights are properly working by interrupting the power supply. This is also known as a 30-second test.

Post Inspection Procedures

After an inspector properly inspects your lights, it is best to keep all records in a safe place. This can help you avoid legal or insurance issues in case of an emergency.

Schedule an Exit and Emergency Light Inspection

If you are looking for exit and emergency light inspection services, or would like emergency lighting installed in your building, contact State Systems for professional service. We proudly serve the Mid-South, including Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi.

To learn more about our services or to receive a quote, contact us today or call us at 901-531-6550.

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