Emergency exit lights are not just a convenience, they are required by law. Of course, you don't want to install emergency lights just because the authorities demand it; you want to do it to increase your building's safety. Here are three tips that will ensure your emergency lights really make your building secure in case of an emergency:
Independent Source of Energy
Your emergency lights should be powered by an independent source of energy from the regular lighting. If the emergency lights don't have an independent energy source, then an emergency that damages your regular lighting's source of energy will also destabilize your emergency lights. Giving the emergency light fixtures a separate source of power increase the chance that they will stay on in an emergency since the risk of an emergency destabilizing both regular and emergency power sources at once is low. For example, while your regular lights draw power from the mains, you can install batteries for your emergency exit lights. A contractor like those at Cole Electric Inc can set this up for you.
Go Beyond the Code, If Possible
The National Electrical Code (NEC) specifies the maximum time that the emergency lights should not exceed before coming on, as well as the minimum time they should stay on. However, there is no harm in exceeding those standards. For example, NEC requires emergency lights to be on for at least 90 minutes, but does it hurt if you can install lights that can last for longer than that? You never know if a few extra minutes will one day save a person's life. In short, don't fall short of the NEC's standards, but go beyond them if it's no trouble to do so.
Know How to Test the Emergency Lights Properly
Even a perfectly installed emergency light system may fail at some point, which is why you need to test your system regularly; in fact, even the code calls for regular testing. Most people know this and do perform the tests; unfortunately, many people don't know the right way to perform the tests.
Specifically, you should know that merely flicking the switch on and off isn't enough. A defective battery won't necessarily fail to power on the light; it may power on the light briefly before draining off completely. You won't know whether a battery system is facing failure if you merely flick the switch on and off. This is why you are required to leave the emergency lights on for at least 30 seconds every month and for 90 minutes every year.
As you can see, the installation of an emergency light system isn't something to be treated lightly. Sit down with your electrician and listen to the code requirements. After that, make your suggestions to the electrician and take their advice before proceeding.