What is in a Name?
by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on Jul 8, 2020 12:00:00 AM
Q: We are trying to correct the terminology we use in our automated PM system, in this case, we have ‘battery exit light fixture’, ‘battery can light fixture’, ‘battery back-up light fixture’, ‘battery egress/exit light fixture’, ‘battery egress light fixture’, ‘battery powered lights for egress’, and ‘life support battery lights’. What is the proper terminology for theses fixture? Multiple people who have provided information to this subject have only made this a mess. Your input please.
A: Oh…. And you would like me to contribute to this mess? My initial thought is…. Why is it important to differentiate between all of these unique devices? Are they not all battery back-up emergency lights? I would be inclined to just call them “Battery Powered Lighting Units”. This is what NFPA calls them (see 184.108.40.206.11 of NFPA 99-2012). But if that does not fit into your plans, then call them as you see them. If they have differences, then use those differences in the names that you label them.
There is no CMS or accreditation standard that requires you to call them any specific name. Now, having said that, don’t call them a name that totally does not apply, like “Motorcycles” (silly example), because then a surveyor could find a problem with that. Case in point: Some hospitals refer to ‘Exit’ signs as “Exit Lights”, which they are not. If you present an inspection document to a surveyor that calls the device by a name that is not recognizable, then you could be liable for a finding.