Monthly Exit and Emergency Light Testing

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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

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Posted on: February 18, 2016

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