Focus: Fire-Life Safety / Column

Life Safety Q&A: Battery-powered exit signs

By Brad Keyes / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
November 8, 2017

Q: Do exit signs with battery backup require the same testing as emergency lighting in the path of egress as indicted in section 7.10.9.1 of the 2012 Life Safety Code?

A: Well… yes, but not exactly. Section 7.10.9.1 of the 2012 Life Safety Code requires all exit signs to be visually inspected for operation of the illumination sources at intervals not to exceed 30 days. That is a visual inspection and is not a 30-second test or an annual 90-minute test that you’re alluding to.

But section 7.10.9.2 says exit signs connected to, or provided with, a battery-operated emergency illumination source must be tested and maintained in accordance with 7.9.3, which is the section that requires a 30-second monthly test and a 90-minutes annual test of the battery system. So, you’re correct in that battery powered ‘Exit’ signs need to be tested monthly and annually just like battery powered emergency lights, but you just had the wrong code reference.

Brad Keyes, CHSP, is the owner of KEYES Life Safety Compliance, and his expertise is in the management of the Life Safety Program, including the Environment of Care and Emergency Management programs.

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Topic Area: Regulations, Codes & Standards


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