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Safety First: Fire Code and Holiday Lighting

by Cooper Clark on Nov 28, 2017

With the holiday season upon us, the evergreen, tinsel and lights are emerging from storage to make their annual appearance on store fronts, doors and counters. Oh, yes, and let's not forget the requisite tree and the beautiful baubles and lights adorning it.

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Topics: Emergency Lighting CT

Lighting the Way - Emergency Exit Lights

by Cooper Clark on Mar 23, 2017

Building contractors may grumble about emergency lighting and safety regulations, but in an emergency the name of the game is egress. While local codes may vary somewhat in language, the International Building Code (IBC) states that "means of egress is a continuous and unobstructed path of vertical and horizontal egress travel from any occupied portion of a building or structure to a public way. A means of egress consists of three separate and distinct components: the exit access, the exit, and the exit discharge."

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Topics: Emergency Lighting CT

Don't Take Emergency Exit Lights for Granted

by Cooper Clark on Mar 01, 2016

In the midst of every day "normal" life, when the sun is shining and everybody is going on about every day business, it's easy to take for granted those little things we routinely walk past. But emergency exit lights, like alarms, are something you never want to dismiss.

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Topics: Emergency Lighting Systems, Emergency Lighting, Emergency Lighting CT

Emergency Lighting Batteries - How to Increase Their Life

by Cooper Clark on Sep 16, 2013

In the 1970’s manufactures of emergency lighting began to use a new gel type battery in many of the units they produced. Prior to that time, they generally use lead antimony and nickel cadmium cells utilizing a wet electrolyte of sulfuric acid or potassium hydroxide respectively. Both came in a number of amp/hr sizes and cells could be added in series to create various voltages, but mostly six and twelve volt blocks were utilized. These emergency lighting batteries required varying degrees of maintenance throughout the year.

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Topics: Emergency Lighting CT, Emergency Lighting

Wireless Emergency Lighting - Tritium Exit Signs

by Cooper Clark on Jul 25, 2013

Some locations where it is difficult to install electrically powered emergency exit signs, such as above doorways, are perfect locations for Tritium exit signs. Tritium exit signs are signs that glow in the dark and contain a radioactive gas called tritium. The gas is enclosed in sealed glass tubes with a light-emitting compound inside. The tritium gives off low-energy beta radiation that causes the lining to glow inside the sign but the radiation is unable to penetrate even a piece of paper or clothing. Just like other more common exit signs, these units serve an important safety function by marking exits to be used during power outages and other emergencies. Tritium signs come in 10 year and 20 year expiration models and are available in a number of colors and configurations.

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Topics: Emergency Lighting, Emergency Lighting Systems, Emergency Lighting CT

Obsolete D.C. Central Emergency Lighting System?

by Cooper Clark on May 23, 2013

Over the last few decades there were many 32v D.C & 36v D.C. central emergency lighting systems manufactured by Dual-Lite, Light Alarms, Chloride and others.

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Topics: Emergency Lighting Systems, Emergency Lighting CT

Maintenance Free Emergency Lighting Batteries?

by Cooper Clark on Apr 23, 2013

Not totally true… Wet type emergency lighting batteries always consume some of the electrolyte (sulfuric acid for lead and potassium hydroxide for nickel cadmium) when they are being charged. The need to refill is based on age, ambient temperature, charge rate, etc. and the established monitoring of properly maintained levels of liquid. The charging process normally produces a flammable gas mixture of hydrogen and oxygen. A short circuit, open flame or smoking during must be avoided when adding water to keep the fluid above the plates or the battery manufacturer’s indicated max fill level. Some maintenance free batteries that use calcium instead of lead require less maintenance because of the greater reservoir capacity. Adding distilled water where and when possible will greatly increase the life of these “so called” maintenance free batteries.

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Topics: Emergency Lighting Systems, Emergency Lighting CT

Why a NEMA for Emergency Lighting or Exit Signs?

by Cooper Clark on Apr 15, 2013

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) sets the standard for various electrical products including certain types of emergency lighting and exit signs. General specifications are as follow. The NEMA for emergency lighting is designed to withstand elements that would interfere with the normal and efficient operation of the emergency lighting unit such as wet locations, rain, and snow. The lighting heads themselves are design to be waterproof as well. The units normally come in 6 and 12v and carry D.C. lighting loads up to zero watts. Input various A.C. voltages can be requested from many many manufacturers. All units have a 90 minute run-time but can be customized for runs exceeding 1.5 hours. Most units are made of high-impact reinforced fiberglass and are extremely rugged. Most units come with a 12v 36 watt sealed lead calcium battery capable of powering remote fixtures. A number of options for this unit may be requested such as volt meter, time delays, etc. This emergency lighting is more costly than your standard units but are mandatory for specific applications.

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Topics: Emergency Lighting Systems, Emergency Lighting CT

“WHAT IS THAT ROTTEN EGG SMELL?!” Emergency Light Batteries...

by Cooper Clark on Apr 02, 2013

In many of the older, wet-type (lead antimony) batteries, they are shipped with a liquid installed called sulfuric acid.  This electrolyte is energized during the charging process to maintain the proper voltage in the battery.

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Topics: Emergency Lighting Systems, Emergency Lighting CT

7 Steps to Understanding your Emergency Lighting Systems

by Cooper Clark on Feb 26, 2013

You've heard about "emergency lighting," but what do you REALLY need to know?

  1. Emergency lighting is required by the NFPA Fire Code whether your facility is located in Connecticut or any other state.
  2. Emergency lighting is sometimes called emergency "egress" lighting and is required to be present and operable within your facility.
  3. The NFPA requirements call for a monthly 30-second tests to be sure that the battery keeps the lamps lit brightly to ensure safe egress in the event of a power outage or other emergency. By just pushing the test button for a few seconds you are not testing the strength of the battery back-up power.
  4. The NFPA requirements call for an annual 90 minute full-load-test to insure all of your emergency lighting systems will opperate for a full 1.5 hours in the event of an extended emergency.
  5. Emergency lighting can be provided within overhead lighting fixtures (such as a flourscent power packs or floursecent emergency packs), individual wall-mounted units (as part of an exit sign, or separate "two-headed" units), or as part of a central emergency lighting system (32v DC system, inverter, or generator).
  6. The different types of emergency lighting require different steps by which to follow to complete the testing properly.
  7. Regardless of the type of emergency lighting your facility has, it must be inspected regularly to meet fire code requirements and insure you are prepared for a life-safety emergency.
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Topics: Understanding Emergency Lighting Fire Code, Emergency Lighting CT

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Blog about facilities' life safety and lighting concerns including emergency lighting, fire extinguishers, AEDs, indoor and outdoor lighting.

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