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Bright Lights and Big Cities

Emergency lighting regulations can and do vary widely, from major city to city. For example, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and New York each require specific emergency lights approved for the city. Because of the wide variations in environmental conditions, one constant challenge is to match emergency lighting with necessary national standards.

Costs of manufacturing are a critical consideration. One method of making sure emergency lighting manufacturing meets minimal standards is through effective legislative education. One important partner in these efforts is the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. The range of alphabet-soup federal agencies can be staggering for a single manufacturer…OSHA and ADA requirements have become especially important considerations. With energy awareness becoming a key factor, EPA standards are increasingly playing a part in helping the market match manufacture.

But cities are increasingly expected to become more complicated in emergency lighting requirements, as well. Though building codes are becoming increasingly standardized, the ability to enforce codes in renovations remain a concern in major cities. The other emerging call is for safety standards that exceed emergency lighting standards. This would make building codes a minimum standard.

The test would be for emerging technologies to be adopted voluntarily. “Smart” technology, including the newest LED systems, are now entering the market. The range of new technologies and techniques will be, at the least, a bright idea whose time is coming.

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A Sound Combo

The development of emergency light fixtures is often part of new inventions, addressing aesthetics as often as utility. This is because the appearance of a fixture often relates to its selection as well as where the fixture will be placed.

Traditionally, the most reliable light fixtures have tended to address power supply problems through the introduction of a separate battery power unit. This has made many fixtures bulky and unattractive. These efficient but unwieldy fixtures are often called “combos,” as they combine lights with a sign and power supply. Combo construction has led, often, to the placement of fixtures in less than ideal locations. A recent invention speaks directly to this limitation: according to its patent claims, the result is a lighter and more attractive combo.

One key aspect to the invention is to make the illumination self-contained. By having an internal lighting system, the lines of the new fixture become more pleasing to the eye, and also less cumbersome in spacing or placement. Ideally, the parts of the combo are all co-extensively built to match…giving a sleeker, linear look. One by-product of this sleekness is to make placement in a variety of places more effective…and attractive.

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Speaking Freely

One of the earliest, wise uses of exit signs was in the arena of indoor movie theaters. For that matter, a Supreme Court justice has even contributed to the lore that surrounds safe exiting from a movie theater. As hard as it is to believe, people once caught a fad of yelling “fire” in a theater. Justice Oliver W. Holmes noted the limit on free speech in 1919–of all things, using the urgency of a supposed theater fire. “It is not allowed to falsely yell fire in a crowned movie theater.”

Like most good advice, there has been a wide misquoting of Justice Holmes. The key word is falsely. One corporate theater chain actually runs an on-screen request to viewers: “please take a moment to familiarize yourself with…exits… .”

As progress in building codes have made theaters safer, an increased use of emergency lighting has also made exit signs more reliable. But the importance of the theater exit sign is also coming home: literally. Many of the more imaginative “home theater” buffs are also buying and installing those classic EXIT signs for home…presumably using the sign in the right place. Hopefully there won’t be a lawsuit over someone being misdirected into a closet. There’s no doubt Justice Holmes would be shaking his head about any such false direction. Besides, Holmes’s opinion was eventually overturned.

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That’s in a Name

When it comes to seeing the light, emergency lighting may be known by any number of names. On the other hand, errors in terminology also occur. One of the most common misuses of terms involved ‘egress’ lighting.

Many otherwise savvy installers treat egress as equivalent to ‘emergency’ lighting. In many other ways, the terminology of emergency lighting is not always accurate. The truth is that any lighting that is unreliable or undependable may create a hazard. Egress lights are used to provide safer exiting under any circumstances…whether an emergency has occurred or not. To this end, you might consider the example of decorative lighting to also aid in aesthetics.

Highlighting shrubs, for example, may also make unsafe shadows disappear. But the difference is more than semantic. Egress lighting should never be turned off by unapproved individuals. Egress lighting should be on whenever an affected area is occupied. Emergency lighting, however, is used in specified instances of (naturally enough) failures…classically, egress lighting is always on, and emergency lighting typically comes on when the egress lighting fails.

The apt use of the term egress properly addresses the range of lighting needed to make exits safer. More generally, knowing the relative roles of egress and emergency lighting also makes one fact crystal clear. The two lighting systems work together to cerate an emergency lighting system.

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Becoming a Fixture

Emergency light fixtures are increasingly subject to scrutiny for utility and appearance. This may well be because of the ubiquitous concern for safety all across America…especially after 9/11 showed a host of vulnerabilities. The world is becoming more and more awareness of safety hazards. Emergencies, from terrorism to energy brownouts and hurricanes, have all added to a sense of needing new and functional emergency light fixture designs to address logistical and aesthetic concerns.

One of the great breakthroughs has been the miniaturization of a transformer, built into the fixture base. This enhances the versatility of emergency lighting, by literally improving the base for emergency lighting’s specific electrical need. In general, fixture transformers act to reduce the voltage so that emergency lighting is relatively unobtrusive until needed. These transformers are also, as part of the emergency lighting system itself, required to meet the specifications of UL 924.

But not all emergency light fixture transformers are built equally. The increasing number and types of load generation, for example, may cause unexpected (meaning, undesirable) failures. While there are usually two types of power supplies (an engine generator or a battery source), transformers may not be optimally suited to one or the other.

The moral is: be certain the fixture is regarded as vital to emergency reliability as is the light.

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No More Lives at Risk

There are certain buildings and spaces which need to be lit up all the time and in such places installing good quality emergency lighting is very essential. In places like public offices and hospitals, there are people who are walking through round the clock, be it day or night. And especially in hospitals, where there are patients and doctors, there has to be continuous lighting in the corridors and rooms.

And emergency lighting is even more crucial when there are machines which need to be running through the day. There can be no compromise when it comes to dealing with lives and so good system of back up needs to be in place. Most places are allowed to operate only if they have followed the prescribed rules which include these lighting facilities.

Emergency lighting could be in the form of an inverter, or multiple lights fixed at different points in the corridor and across the building. Basically anything that turns on automatically and works for long duration is what is ideal in places which are filled with people at odd hours. Basically installed to save lives and prevent any accidents, these lightings are available based on your budget and preferences.

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Follow the Path


Emergency lighting is known to be applicable for not just houses or offices, but also for cars and other four wheel vehicles. There are times when one is driving across many miles and suddenly there is a break down and the engine dies. Normally, they would be stranded without any way of attracting attention of oncoming vehicles, especially late in the night.

There are lights available, directly connected to a separate power circuit, and not linked to the main battery. These work when the main battery in the vehicles stops functioning, thereby giving adequate light and letting on comers know that you are in trouble and need help.

People don’t think of what would happen if there is a break down while driving at night or what would happen if there engine was to fail. So, at times like this the emergency lighting installed comes in handy saving time and bringing forth helps which otherwise might have not been possible. This also prevents accidents happening, for if in the dark you were stranded with your car; there would be no way to let others know you are there. Hence, this system is a must for all those fond of traveling.

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Safety First, Rest Later

With the sudden influx in people moving to different towns and industries picking up pace and building multi story complexes, the fear of power overload lingers in every ones mind. Since most computer companies need power round the clock, it is safer to go for a reliable mode of emergency lighting.

This will ensure that there is undisturbed power and that important data and transactions are carried out smoothly. The lighting fixed in the campus should be one that automatically turns on when the main power breaks down or is switched off. And the minimum working time should be at least six hours within which time the main power would have been fixed and back in action.

Also, the electrical engineers of the building should do periodical checks to make sure these lights are in working condition or else it does not serve the purpose. In an office space or shopping mall, the need for emergency lighting is very important to be able to avoid panic and chaos from breaking out. This also gives the reassurance to the people that they will not have to be stranded but can find their way around the building and reach a place of safety.

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Prominent Exit Signs Needed

Shopping malls are not the only places where people are found in large numbers, other places such as public service offices and hospitals also have this issue. So, it is very essential for prominent Exit signs to be placed in more than one location around the building and near the doors too.

Not only in the corridors and elevators, but also in wet areas where people might be trapped due to an accident or fire breaking out require these sign boards. The sign boards are enclosed in a sturdy fiber glass casing, which protects it against any kind of erosion or damage. Also since these signs have arrows it is easier for the person to follow them even during dark. With an extended of life of nearly 25years these lights are most recommended for places where lives are at stake.

Since they come with back up emergency batteries, the Exit signs are absolutely maintenance free and are suitable for wet locations as well. Water splashing on it, or spraying at it will have no effect and the light shall continue to glow in full brightness. Some of these come with direction indicators, which can be placed, based on its location.

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Effective Lights Brighten Days

We normally assume nothing is going to happen and go about our daily activities or shopping. It is only at times of emergency that we wonder about how to get out of where we are or where the stairway is, which we don’t seem to have noticed.

In order to avoid such chaos and to protect the lives of people, builders have begun installing Exit signs in multiple locations around the building. The main purpose of these signs is to guide the people from wherever they are to a place of safety, mostly outside the building. This is emergency lighting. The boards are found suspended from the ceiling or near the place of exit. Some of these signs are fitted in a neat plastic or metal box with the text written on both sides accompanied by an arrow or directions to go out.

Earlier the were made using incandescent bulbs, which would seem to be very dim even with high voltage powered bulbs. Today they have been replaced by Fluorescent and light emitting diode bulbs, which are very effective and have an extended lifespan as well. These kinds of boards don’t need any external wires or extra hardware to get them working.

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