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      Self-Testing & Self-Diagnostic Battery Powered Emergency Lights

      by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on Feb 2, 2021 12:00:00 AM

      Q: Are self-testing emergency egress lighting allowable? If so, how do you satisfy the documentation required of both the monthly and annual testing?

      A: Yes, they are permitted. Section 7.9.3.1 of the 2012 Life Safety Code says required emergency lighting systems shall be tested in accordance with one of the three options offered by 7.9.3.1.1, 7.9.3.1.2, or 7.9.3.1.3.

      Section 7.9.3.1.1 are the requirements for the traditional battery-powered emergency lights that need testing monthly and annually:

      7.9.3.1.1 Testing of required emergency lighting systems shall be permitted to be conducted as follows:

      (1) Functional testing shall be conducted monthly, with a minimum of 3 weeks and a maximum of 5 weeks between tests, for not less than 30 seconds, except as otherwise permitted by 7.9.3.1.1(2).

      (2) The test interval shall be permitted to be extended beyond 30 days with the approval of the authority having jurisdiction.

      (3) Functional testing shall be conducted annually for a minimum of 1½ hours if the emergency lighting system is battery powered.

      (4) The emergency lighting equipment shall be fully operational for the duration of the tests required by 7.9.3.1.1(1) and (3).

      (5) Written records of visual inspections and tests shall be kept by the owner for inspection by the authority having jurisdiction.

      Section 7.9.3.1.2 discusses the testing requirements for self-testing/self-diagnostic battery-powered emergency lights that are not computer-controlled:  

      7.9.3.1.2 Testing of required emergency lighting systems  shall be permitted to be conducted as follows:

      (1) Self-testing/self-diagnostic battery-operated emergency lighting equipment shall be provided.

      (2) Not less than once every 30 days, self-testing/self-diagnostic battery-operated emergency lighting equipment shall automatically perform a test with a duration of a minimum of 30 seconds and a diagnostic routine.

      (3) Self-testing/self-diagnostic battery-operated emergency lighting equipment shall indicate failures by a status indicator.

      (4) A visual inspection shall be performed at intervals not exceeding 30 days.

      (5) Functional testing shall be conducted annually for a minimum of 1½ hours.

      (6) Self-testing/self-diagnostic battery-operated emergency lighting equipment shall be fully operational for the duration of the 1½ hour test.

      (7) Written records of visual inspections and tests shall be kept by the owner for inspection by the authority having jurisdiction.

      Section 7.9.3.1.3 discusses the testing requirements for self-testing/self-diagnostic battery-powered emergency lights that are computer-controlled:  

      7.9.3.1.3 Testing of required emergency lighting systems shall be permitted to be conducted as follows:

      (1) Computer-based, self-testing/self-diagnostic battery operated emergency lighting equipment shall be provided.

      (2) Not less than once every 30 days, emergency lighting equipment shall automatically perform a test with a duration of a minimum of 30 seconds and a diagnostic routine.

      (3) The emergency lighting equipment shall automatically perform annually a test for a minimum of 1½ hours.

      (4) The emergency lighting equipment shall be fully operational for the duration of the tests required by 7.9.3.1.3(2) and (3).

      (5) The computer-based system shall be capable of providing a report of the history of tests and failures at all times.

      READERS: If you would like a free template for monthly and annual tests of the battery-powered emergency lights, please send an email to info@keyeslifesafety.com and put “Battery Powered EM Lights” in the subject line.  

      Topics: Emergency Lights (Life Safety Code)

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