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Now You See It…

The use of emergency light fixtures will always be a balance of competing functions. Specifically, can the appearance of the fixture support the occasional emergency capacity, reliably? I’m always looking for the two sides of this equation: a new invention, and the occasional breakdown in fixture reliability (especially if they result in recalls).That’s why the low-profile variety of fixtures is always on the radar of interesting options. To be honest, however, most of these emergency light fixtures tend to be attractive only if used in residential settings. On occasion, these fixtures can be used in more boutique commercial settings. Traditional commercial settings that need more than the ususal short-term emergency service of a residential setting are more willing to sacrifice looks for multi-hour units.

A new era of emergency and egress light fixture lighting that is flush against the wall is here. One exemplary unit also features the unique ‘pop up’ lens cover. In the event of power failure, the lens automatically opens. Before engaging in emergency mode, the fixture appears to be nothing more than an old-fashioned light switch plate. The internal battery will take a recharge once power is restored…and in good imitation of Star War’s R2D2, the lens retracts after AC power is restored.

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Self Aware

One increased area of interest in emergency light fixtures comes from the integration of self-diagnostics into the fixture. While no one is (yet) making claims of robotic fixtures and self-repairing units, there are significant advantages in new, more elaborate fixtures. These programs are especially important to meet increasingly strict requirements for 30-day and annual diagnostics on all parts of emergency lighting.

If looking at self-diagnosing programs, be sure the equipment has been throughly tested, and what rewards come from its use (e.g., lowered maintenance costs and extended warranties). Be sure to find out that the diagnostics match existing national and local codes. After all, diagnostics that fail to meet industry standards are not self-aware enough to evidence limitations…or safety risks.

Many new fixtures will also allow for ‘remote’ sensing, saving costs in physical handling: these remote functions may include battery voltage, lamp continuity, incoming power, and unit performance. These tests may be run more often than minimal test requirements, perhaps as frequently as every 10 seconds.

Self-diagnostics can be figuratively invaluable in making sure maintenance issues are identified, perhaps in advance of scheduled diagnostics. After all, nothing says that emergencies manage to make themselves available for scheduled maintenance checks.

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Do You Recall?

One practical reason for regular inspections of emergency lighting fixtures has to do with the nature of emergencies. They are sporadic events, and when requisite emergency fixtures are ‘deployed,’ then the chance of finding failures can be catastrophic. The old axiom, ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ comes into play. Then, it may be too late to fix the problem quickly and efficiently.

In any event, the use of emergency fixtures may well be required more often than monthly or annually. One aspect of this extended (and active) awareness of testing has to do with product recalls. For example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission notes the enormous costs associated with product failures in the American economy every year. The costs associated with failures are absolutely staggering: exceeding $700 billion each year.

On occasion, intelligent inspections actually work to the great advantage of manufacturers and the public. One instance involves voluntary recalls. In the event a manufacturer receives notice of some defect, they may contact the Consumer Product Commission, and notify them of the possible defect (often based on the manufacturer or distributor’s own investigation). This is roughly what happened when a trim assembly light distributed by Prescolite was melting part of the fixture assembly. Part of the assembly might have fallen, causing injury to passers by.

In any event, consumers are always best served by such aggressive, and voluntary, recalls. Consumers, notably, played the first part in the recall process.

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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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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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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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Posted in Emergency Lighting
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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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Posted in Emergency Lighting
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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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Posted in Exit Signs
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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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Posted in Emergency Lighting
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Light at the End of the Tunnel Not Far

An exit is the way people get out of a building and the emergency exit is to be used in case of fire or any other accidents within the building. There are separate entrances for both these and there usually are multiple Exit Signs indicating the way to the same.

These sign boards are made using various materials and the most preferred models are the self powered kinds. These don’t need batteries and require no wires or power connection to serve the purpose. Not only this, but the lights are visible from long distances and provide effective guidance to all those in need. Also being cost effective, these last for years together with no maintenance required.

The main purpose of the Exit Signs is to indicate the way out to the people stranded within the premises. They also give a reassurance to the employees or shoppers or visitors that safety is just a few steps away making sure panic doesn’t set in. In places like cinema halls and museums where visitors flow in during the day, these signs enable the staff guide them towards the door and safety. With the lettering in bold and red these signs can’t be missed.

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Posted in Exit Signs
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