You don't always get to choose ideal locations for your emergency lights. Sometimes circumstances force you to put your emergency lights in places that are regularly exposed to water. Perhaps the unit gets rain dripping on it, or it's placed where you hose down the walls. This puts the electrical components of your lights in peril. There are ways to prevent this, though. You only need to know the following things.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) formed in 1926 with the stated goal of "improving the state of electrical manufacturing in the United States." The association has put forth manufacturing standards for electrical components.
The most relevant standard for anyone looking for waterproof emergency lighting is the enclosure type listing. Enclosures that are over electrical components, including lighting components, are your first defense against water damage, so you want to buy an emergency light with an enclosure that will suit its location.
The types are listed 1 through 13, with some additional classifications such as 4x, 6P, and 12K. The rating that you want for the enclosure for your emergency light will depend on what you need. For instance, a Type 4 enclosure for your lights is one that is waterproof, good for indoor and outdoor use, won't be damaged by ice formation on the outside of it, and is protected from dirt. A 4X Type enclosure will provide all of that, plus a degree of protection from corrosion.
Notes about some other enclosure types:
- Type 2 enclosures protect against damage that might come from water dripping or lightly splashing the light, but they are for indoor use only.
- Type 5 enclosures will also survive most dripping and light splashing and are protected from dirt, dust, and lint.
- Type 6 enclosures provide protection against being hosed and can go indoors and outdoors.
- Type 13 enclosures protect against oil and coolant seepage.
As you can see, chances are good that you will be successful in finding an emergency light with an enclosure rating that meets your needs.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has quite a few requirements for emergency lights, and they are all good ideas. However, there are two that are relevant to your choice of emergency lighting if it is in a wet location.
The first rule is that your emergency lighting must be bright enough for an employee with average vision to see. Wet conditions can reduce visibility. It might also cause your light to short-circuit, which will make it much harder to see. You will want to have an expert routinely check the lights and make sure that the enclosures are secure so that your emergency lights are working when you need them.
The second consideration is for anyone who has an emergency exit route outside. OSHA has a requirement that your outdoor exit route must be sheltered against snow and ice unless you can prove that you can keep it clear. This will mean that you will have to place your emergency lighting where people can see it when they are in the outdoor exit route. You will also have to make sure your exit route is clearly marked, and this may require lighted signs that direct people along the route.
Emergency lighting can get tricky in special circumstances. That is why Lighting Services, Inc. offers annual, semi-annual, or monthly inspections for fire-code compliance. In addition, we will tighten any fixtures and ensure that your properly-enclosed emergency light is directed toward the emergency exit. We will test the batteries, chargers, and lamps for you so that you don't have to have an employee try to figure out how to do it. If you want more information about emergency lighting in wet locations or any other place, contact us.