Month: February 2016

Photoluminescent Exit Signs

Not every building can use photoluminescent exit signs; but if you can, why would you?


Exit Signs are a first line of defense for emergency situations. Traditional exit signs operate on batteries recharged by electrical power, which means additional costs for electricity, installation, plus regular maintenance and inspections.

Most facilities continue to utilize the old incandescent lamp technology which is maintenance intensive and prone to failure. Regular inspections are required and necessary to ensure optimal performance in an emergency situation.

Photoluminescent exit signs are a relatively new technology that absorb ambient light and then illuminates, or glows in the dark, using the stored energy. These signs have recently been approved by OSHA and UL (Underwriters Laboratories) rated for use under specific conditions.

To meet the qualifications set to use photoluminescent signs and to charge the sign properly, the ambient light of the building must provide 54 lux at the face of the sign. In case you can’t tell by just looking at your lighting, a professional service provider can measure the ambient light of the building and let you know if you are able to use photoluminescent exit signs. Buildings using photoluminescent exit signs must also have access to light switches or dimmers restricted – you have to keep the lights on to charge your exit sign.

Photoluminescent exit signs are becoming more popular because of the very unique benefits they have to offer. Since the signs store energy from the buildings ambient lighting the signs require no connection to power, no battery, and no light bulbs or related maintenance, eliminating the cost of upkeep. The lifespan of a glow in the dark light in normal conditions is upwards of 25 years and the light will remain visible for up to 9 hours in total darkness once the light is fully “charged.”

These exit signs must still be tested and documented every 30 days for 30 seconds and annually for 90 minutes. The sign must stay visibly illuminated for the duration of the test. A visual inspection must also be done to ensure the sign is clean and not damaged. If the sign is dirty or damaged it should be wiped down with soap and water or replaced.

Photoluminescent signs offer a much more reliable, cost-effective exit sign solution for buildings that meet the NFPA requirements. Your service provider can tell you if your building meets the NFPA requirements to use photoluminescent exit signs, and can install them properly for you.


A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Jack Menke
Jack Menke

Why You Need Fire Extinguisher Training in the Workplace

If the proper fire extinguisher is used correctly and promptly, more than 90% of fires are extinguishable.

Ask your employees where the nearest fire extinguisher is. Most informal polls have found that less than 25% of employees are able to locate the nearest fire extinguisher in their workplace from memory. If you could make sure you and your employees were prepared in the event of a fire, why wouldn’t you?

In addition to safety, companies that provide fire extinguisher training for their staff usually have a better insurance rating. If that’s not enough reason to hold fire extinguisher training for your workplace, check out the OSHA minimum requirement that employers provide their staff with the basic knowledge of how to use an extinguisher and the hazards of early stage fires. (Occupational Health and Safety Administration; 1910.157(g))

So, properly training your staff on fire safety keeps your employees and property safe, and keeps money in your pocket.


What to include in your workplace fire extinguisher training:

  1. Common fire hazards in the workplace include:

* Waste & Combustible material storage,

* Flammable liquids and vapors,

* Dust build-up in enclosed spaces with heat generating devices (think, Data Room),

* Objects that generate heat (such as electrical equipment and machinery) being left on for extended periods of time,

* Faulty electrical equipment,

* Overloading power sockets,

* Smoking (you think it won’t happen, but it did at A1 and it can at your workplace too!), and

* Human negligence.


  1. Selecting the proper fire extinguisher. Did you know there are different extinguishers for different areas – kitchen, data room, etc??

A – ordinary combustible; B – flammable or combustible liquids; C – electrical equipment; D – combustible metals; and K – cooking oils

  1. Where fire extinguishers should be located.

Check your workplace for the materials listed above and make sure the appropriate fire extinguisher is nearby. Dependent on the type of extinguisher, there is a specific distance it should be placed from the hazard: 75 ft. for ABC, as long as there is an extinguisher within 50 ft. of a B hazard; 50 ft for D; 30 ft for K.

  1. Review your fire escape plan in the event of a larger fire.

According to the Ohio Fire Code, your company should have a fire escape plan. If not, take a few minutes to write one down and ensure everyone knows how to respond in the event of an emergency. The Ohio Fire Code also specifies what information should be included in a company’s fire escape plan – be on the lookout for a future A1 blog on what to include (and maybe even a handy template!)

  1. How to use a fire extinguisher.

Review the P.A.S.S. method here.

Fire extinguisher training will provide your employees, as well as yourself, with a basic knowledge of how fires start, how they grow, and how to use the proper fire extinguisher in order to reduce injury, risk, and loss in the workplace.  Additionally, your company should have a properly outlined fire escape plan in the event of a larger fire that cannot be fought with extinguishers. By understanding these things, along with what fire hazards are in the workplace and where fire extinguishers are best positioned, your staff will feel confident to act accordingly in a stressful situation such as a fire.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198. Check out our Workplace Fire Extinguisher Training!

Will Buchholz

Monthly Exit and Emergency Light Testing





OSHA and most insurance companies require a monthly visual test and a 30 second battery-backup test of all exit and emergency lights to ensure they are reliable. Requirements of OSHA and the NFPA 101(00), Life Safety Code section 7.9.3 and 7.10.9 are:

  • A visual inspection
  • 30 second illumination under battery backup
  • Written records of inspection

Self-testing and self-diagnosing systems are exempt from monthly testing if they are set to automatically test for 30 seconds every 30 days. A visual inspection must still be done for all units.

All battery-operated systems must be tested to check for old or defective batteries. A dead or defective battery may appear to be holding a charge but die after just a few seconds. Testing the batteries for a minimum of 30 seconds ensures the lights are going to work as planned in an emergency.

A1 does not recommend performing your manual test of battery operated lights with the “push to test” button. The batteries can be malfunctioning and not receiving a charge from the power source, which means they will not work for an extended period of time during an emergency, but have enough residual charge to work the light for the 30 second test. Instead, cut the power to the exit lights if that is feasible (some facilities have the exit lights on a designated circuit for this purpose) or use a battery load tester which will tell you how much of a charge the batteries have. If you cut the power to the exit lights, all the bulbs should be working and remain a consistent brightness for the duration of the test. If the bulbs dim or go out completely, contact a professional service provider for immediate repairs. If you use a battery load tester and your batteries do not show a full charge, you may need new batteries or your batteries may not be receiving a charge from the power source, in which case you need to contact your service provider for help troubleshooting.

Some self-testing and self-diagnosing systems can be triggered and monitored by a computer. This option is great for large facilities with an extensive amount of units to test. However, a visual inspection, to ensure the light is working, must always be done for all of the units when the lights are tested every 30 days.

Download a free monthly inspection form.
Emergency Light Inspection Form

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Will Buchholz