Battery Powered ‘Exit’ Signs

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-minute 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
Brad Keyes, CHSP

Brad is a former advisor to Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) and former Joint Commission LS surveyor. He guides clients through  organizational assessment; management training; ongoing coaching of task groups; and extensive one-on-one coaching of facility leaders. He analyzes and develops leadership effectiveness and efficiency in work processes, focusing on assessing an organization’s preparedness for a survey, evaluating processes in achieving preparedness, and guiding organizations toward compliance. 

As a presenter at national seminars, regional conferences, and audio conferences, Brad teaches the Keyes Life Safety Boot Camp series to various groups and organizations. He is the author or co-author of many HCPro books, including the best-selling  Analyzing the Hospital Life Safety Survey, now in its 3rd edition. Brad has also authored a variety of articles in numerous publications addressing features of life safety and fire protection, as well as white papers and articles on the Building Maintenance Program. Currently serving as the contributing editor of the monthly HCPro newsletter Healthcare Life Safety Compliance  gives Brad further insight into the industry’s trends and best practices.