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How to Maintain Emergency Lights & Exit Signs

Once you've bought and installed exit signs and emergency lights, the tendency is to completely forget about them. However, testing and maintenance are the only way to ensure these products can continue to save lives for decades to come. At the same time, the "egress" escape path has to be uncluttered, and the exit lights must not be concealed from view.

And if you do not follow these NFPA guidelines, your building or business can be shut down, by order of the city or Federal Government, until complaint fixtures are installed.

NFPA101: Life Safety Code Requirements for Emergency Lighting and Exit Signs.

  • Visual inspection of the battery unit every thirty (30) days.
  • 30-second lighting test under backup battery power. Perform every thirty (30) days.
  • 90-minute lighting test under backup battery power. Perform once every year.
  • Notate and maintain records of planned inspection and corrective maintenance.

Visual Inspection

During each evaluation, you will look for surface impairments of the battery backup fixture:

  1. Inspect for and secure exposed or loose wiring.
  2. Ensure the unit is securely installed to the mounted surface.
  3. Visually inspect for breaks or blemishes on the housing. This is especially necessary for outdoor units, which loose their watertight capability.

In addition to the visual inspection, personnel should perform the following tests at the given intervals: 

30 Second Battery Test - locate the "push-to-test" switch and depress for thirty (30) seconds. The lighting heads should activate and stay lit for the duration.

90 Minute Battery Test - the "push-to-test"  button must be depressed for ninety (90) minutes. This can be done with a special button clamp, which can be purchased through this site. You can also schedule the maintenance for a time when the building is unoccupied and power down the AC circuits for 90 minutes.

Auto Testing / Self-Diagnostic and Computer Based Maintenance

Not crazy about climbing a ladder to individually test each unit every month? Get our emergency lights with auto testing capability. Depending on the model, some fixtures will run tests of the battery and lamps when a maintenance person presses the diagnostic button. Other self-testing units will automatically schedule, diagnose and alert personnel without outside manipulation. Large industrial facilities, hospitals, high rises and hotels prefer to tie in all their emergency lights and exit signs to a central computer with maintenance software that runs the show for the entire building. 

Call 800.282.5600 to discuss the self testing options that suit your business and budget.