Ask an Expert
Discuss My Needs
Menu
Discuss My Needs
Ask an Expert
Keyes Life Safety

Our Life Safety educational resource hub is full of healthcare knowledge to help you be better informed of the changing world around you. 

Rather than sit back and act on decisions made by others, we are leading the charge as it relates to identifying best practices for Life Safety Code® and compliance. We have real people that give our clients real information that can be put into practice.

Interested in reading our experts' take on Life Safety? Then subscribe to our free blog below! We discuss readers' questions, share interesting observations from the field, and more.

Battery Powered Emergency Lights

by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on Nov 27, 2019 12:00:49 AM

Q: We have chosen to install some extra battery egress lights in our hospital that are not required. One of these areas is our stairways. 100% of the lighting in our stairways is served by the hospital's generators including the circuits that feed the egress lights. We installed the battery egress lights to help keep people calm and avoid falls during the ~5 second transition to generator power. Do we need to do 90-minute annual testing on battery lights served by generator power? We will continue the 30-second monthly testing, but the 90-minute testing is difficult as all lighting in the stairway must be turned off during testing. Also, these lights will never see a 90-minute outage. NFPA 101 2012 7.9.3.1 says an annual test shall be conducted on every required battery-powered emergency lighting system for not less than 1 ½ hours. Since these are not required, I am hoping that these lights do not need the annual test.

 

A: Well, I’m sorry to say, but section 4.6.12.3 of the 2012 LSC says if you have an existing feature of life safety that is not required by the LSC but is obvious to the public then you must maintain it or remove it. I think we'd all agree that battery powered emergency lights would be obvious to the public. According to the NFPA standards, maintaining it includes the monthly 30-second test and the annual 90-minute test. You say the 90-minute test will be difficult since the normal power to the battery powered emergency lights are on the same circuit as the stairwell lighting.

Well, I see your point. You cannot turn off the circuit to the stairwell lighting for 90 minutes… that would be the wrong thing to do. I suggest you install a toggle switch on the battery powered emergency light fixture, preferably on top where it cannot be inadvertently turn off. This toggle switch will turn off the normal power to the battery powered emergency lights and you can perform the 90-minute test without interrupting normal power to the stairwell lights. So, you must test those battery powered lights, even if they are not required. Personally, I like your thinking… providing battery powered lights for the 5 seconds or so of darkness in the stairwell, even though you don’t have to.

Topics:Emergency Lights (Life Safety Code)

Real people. Real solutions.

We help you be better informed of the changing world around you.  Our life safety blog answers your real world questions! 

More...

More...

Subscribe to Updates

We care and want to help.

We want to help coach, guide, and navigate you through all things Life Safety.
DISCUSS MY NEEDS