Are Exit Lights and Emergency Lights Required to be Inspected?

Posted May 31, 2018 by Koorsen Fire & Security

Four Exit Lights

If you own or manage a business, you may have wondered whether the building’s emergency and exit lights require regular inspections.

The hard and fast answer is: YES.

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Here are the quick details that you need to know to ensure that your facility is up to code and that everyone is safe:

The Facts

According to National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 101: Life Safety Code, all exit lights and emergency lights must be inspected and tested both monthly and annually.

Additionally, OSHA, the International Fire Code, and the International Building Code, and others, all provide codes regulating inspection and maintenance of your structure’s exit and emergency lighting.

Finally, your local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) makes the final call on what standards and rules must be enforced and may add more of their own.

Consequences of Neglecting Inspection of Emergency & Exit Lighting

Failing to adhere to the codes for exit/emergency lights may result in numerous serious consequences, including:

  • Heavy fines
  • Bodily harm or injury if the emergency/exit lights fail when needed
  • Law suits from private parties harmed and/or local governing bodies
  • Unnecessary property damage or loss
  • Loss of business due to the above-mentioned costs

How do you avoid these consequences?

Monthly Inspections and Tests

Once a month, perform the required 30-second test on all battery-operated emergency and exit lights.

You may perform this test yourself by pushing and holding the “push to test” button located on each light for a minimum of 30 seconds to ensure that the battery and lights are fully functional.

If you notice dimming lights or burnt-out bulbs, you will need to arrange for maintenance or repairs.

Repeat this process for each emergency and exit light.

Exception: for battery-operated self-testing/self-diagnostic exit and emergency lighting which automatically runs 30 second tests and a diagnostic at least every 30 days, only a visual inspection needs to be done monthly.

Annual Inspections and Tests

Annually, perform the required 90-minute test and inspection, described in NPFA 101, Sec. 7.9.3.

You may perform this yourself, as the manufacturer’s documentation should include instructions. However, many fire protection service providers, such as Koorsen, provide this service, which can make the process more convenient as well as more thorough.

The only effective way to test all emergency and exit lights for 90 minutes is by cutting off the AC power to the lights. Everything connected to the relevant breaker will also lose power at this time, so this test will require appropriate planning.

Proof of both monthly and annual testing must be recorded and kept to show local AHJs when requested.

Need Help?

If you are uncomfortable testing your own equipment or need maintenance, Koorsen Fire & Security will be happy to discuss requirements for your specific geographic area with you and walk you through the process.

Give Koorsen a call today to schedule an appointment.

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Topics: Emergency/Exit Lighting, Fire Safety & Security

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Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It is believed to be reliable, but Koorsen Fire & Security assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this article. It does not constitute professional advice. The user of this article or the product(s) is responsible for verifying the information's accuracy from all available sources, including the product manufacturer. The authority having jurisdiction should be contacted for code interpretations.