Jun 02 2017

Exit Signage

Category: Exit Signs,Questions and AnswersBKeyes @ 12:00 am

Q: This question was recently brought to my attention: “Why do rooms, offices, and work areas do not have “Exit” signs over the doors leaving the rooms?” I could not find an answer for that. But I did notice that rooms within a room do not have “Exit” signs as well. The “Exit” signs throughout our hospital are all in the corridors that lead patrons to the public way.  But if you are in a room, or within another room, are “Exit” signs required?

A: Not necessarily. Look at section in the 2012 LSC, which says: “Access to exits shall be marked by approved, readily visible, signs in all cases where the exit or way to reach the exit is not readily apparent to the occupants.” (Emphasis mine).

If the path of egress is readily apparent to all occupants of a room or area, then the case can be made that “Exit” signs are not required to mark the access to the exit. An office does not require an “Exit” sign because the occupant obviously knows the way out of the room. It is “readily apparent” to the occupant. However, “Exit” signs would be required in a cafeteria dining rooms or an auditorium because it is likely there will be people, such as visitors or patients, who do not necessarily know the way out, so the exit is not ‘readily apparent’ to them.

The danger with not marking a means of egress comes with the assumption that every employee knows the way out, and the way to reach the exit is readily apparent. Departments that are visited by people not familiar with the way out need to be marked with “Exit” signs, regardless whether those people are employees or visitors.

Apr 28 2017

Exit Signs in Suites

Category: Exit Signs,Questions and AnswersBKeyes @ 12:00 am

Q: We have just remodeled a suite and are planning on moving the chemo infusion department into it. There are 5 bays but total occupancy would never be more than 50. Are we required to have exit signs over both exits? Upon exiting the suite into the exit corridors there is less than 50 feet to exit to the outside of building.

A: Yes… You would need ‘Exit’ signs over the doors to the corridor. The reason is, section of the 2012 Life Safety Code requires access to exits be marked with ‘Exit’ signs, unless they are readily apparent. In your situation, the doors to the corridors would not be readily apparent to the patients and visitors, although they may be to the employees who worked there.

Mar 28 2016

Illumination of the Means of Egress

Category: Exit Signs,Questions and AnswersBKeyes @ 12:00 am

Q: My question is in regards to illumination of the means of egress, specifically, illumination provided outside the building to a public way. I was told by a consultant that the only means of egress requiring illumination are the “designated” egress paths. We were cited for no illumination for the exit path to the public way, and it was not marked by Exit signs. Is emergency lighting required for illumination outside the building?

A: I agree that only the portions that are designated as the path of egress on the exit discharge are required to be illuminated. The exit discharge becomes a ‘designated path of egress’ when the exit from the building discharges onto the walkway outside the building. I have seen many paths outside the building that are confusing and unsure which path to follow to the public way. In those situations, outdoor ‘Exit’ signs need to mark the path of egress, even though it is outside.  Section of the 2000 edition of the LSC clearly states that the exit discharge only includes ‘designated’ stairs, aisles, corridors, ramps, escalators, walkways, and exit passageways leading to a public way. If you were cited for not having illumination on an outside sidewalk that lead to a dumpster or other such area that does not serve as a means of egress, then I would say that was an incorrect finding and should be appealed. However, if the finding was for lack of illumination for an outside walkway that does serve as a means of egress from an exit of the building, then that would seem to be a correct finding.

Your question: “Is emergency lighting required for illumination outside the building?” depends on what type of building it is. If the building is healthcare occupancy or ambulatory care occupancy, then yes, emergency lighting is required. According to section (and for ambulatory care) of the 2000 edition of the LSC, emergency lighting must be provided according to section 7.9. Section 7.9.1 says the exit discharge is included in this emergency lighting requirement. You are permitted to utilize battery back-up lighting (as long as it meets the requirements), or generator power for the emergency lighting. Most hospitals use generator power for their emergency lighting since they already have the generator. Battery back-up emergency lights take much more maintenance in monthly and annual testing.

If the building is a business occupancy, then section states emergency lighting is only required in a building that has two or more stories above the level of exit discharge; in a building that is subject to an occupant load of 100 or more persons, above or below the level of exit discharge; or in a building that is subject to 1000 or more total occupants.

Mar 01 2010

Emergency Power Needed for Exit Signs?

Category: Exit Signs,Questions and AnswersBKeyes @ 4:55 pm

Q: We have a physicians’ office building in an existing business occupancy, which has two remotely located exits.  Exits paths are clearly marked with lit exit signs and the egress corridors have battery backup emergency lighting. However, the exit signs have only normal power (no battery backup). Is this practice non-compliant, and should we replace the exit signs with battery backup units?

A: It depends on the height of the building, and the number of occupants. You state that your physician’s office is an existing business occupancy, so the provisions of chapter 39 of the LSC apply. Section 39.2.10 discusses the Marking of a Means of Egress, which refers us to section 7.10. So, section 7.10.4 discusses the power source for the illumination of the sign, which says if emergency egress lighting is required by the occupancy chapter, then the ‘Exit’ signs need to also be powered by emergency sources as well. Back we go to chapter 39 and look for emergency lighting requirements, which we find in section 39.2.9. Emergency egress lighting is only required in business occupancies, where any one of the following exists:

  • The building is 2 or more stories in height above the level of exit discharge
  • The occupancy is subject to 100 or more occupants above or below the level of exit discharge
  • The occupancy is subject to 1,000 or more total occupants
  • All underground and windowless buildings (see section 3.3.197 for definitions of these types of structures)

So, if your physician’s office qualifies for any of the above bullet points, then the ‘Exit’ signs are required to have an emergency power source. The ‘Exit’ signs are permitted to be illuminated by either internal or external light source, as long as it is reliable and the signs remain legible in the normal and emergency lighting mode. As always, remember to check with your local authorities to see if they have more restrictive requirements.