Proper safety and exit signs are a must to ensure order can be maintained during an emergency. Appropriate signs are usually a legal requirement. During an emergency situation, signs illuminate escape routes, highlight emergency exits and can provide a life-saving guide to building occupants. Other types of safety signs can inform people about hazardous situations around a workplace and help prevent accidents and dangerous situations.
To be effective, exit signs must remain lit and visible, even in case of:
- Excess smoke
- Electrical outages
Emergency exit signs and fire exit signs must be able to withstand extreme temperatures while maintaining visibility under smoky conditions. In the event of a power outage, illuminated safety signs turn to battery backups to ensure their directions remain visible to occupants seeking a safe way to exit the building. It's also a good safety practice to make sure that all fire extinguishers are in good working order.
Federal and state regulations dictate how these signs must function, and most retailers offer signs that meet or exceed all statutes. Regulations vary by region, however, and it is management's responsibility to ensure all local codes regarding exit, fire and safety signs are met.
Recent technological innovations have made all types of modern safety signs more effective. Older signs were often hard-wired to a building's electrical system and would immediately fail during a power outage. Battery backup systems are now more reliable and last much longer than in the past. Flood lights, which can be attached to emergency signs, are also now available to provide additional illumination in the event of a power failure.
Emergency LED exit signs have largely replaced the old incandescent signs that were more likely to fail during emergency situations. LED-based signs also save money by consuming much less electricity. Some businesses have started using glow-in-the-dark or self-illuminating signs that continue to function even in the complete absence of a power supply. Superior building materials have also made many safety signs flame-resistant, extending their functionality considerably during an emergency. Again, be sure to check local regulations and manufacturer specifications to ensure that all safety signs meet requirements.