A building emergency such as a fire can be a chaotic experience for people – emotions run high and everyone is sent into panic mode. That’s why emergency and exit lights need to be kept in top shape, in order to guide people to safety quickly and effectively. Regular testing of your emergency and exit lights will help to ensure they’re working correctly, which will in turn prevent problems and even save lives. Here is what to keep in mind when checking your emergency and exit lights.
Do a Battery Test
Emergency and exit lights are powered by the building’s regular electrical supply, but they’re also outfitted with batteries in case the power supply fails. Most emergency and exit lights have a small button that makes battery testing easy. Look for a button that says “push to test” on the casing. Press this button down to test both the battery and the lights on the unit. There may also be remote lights connected to this unit. If the lights dim or flicker during this test, they should be serviced promptly by your fire and life safety service provider.
It’s important to hold the test button for long enough in order to perform the test correctly. Defective batteries can still hold enough charge to work for a period, which gives the illusion that they’re working. This could prove to be dangerous in an emergency if they fail after only a short time frame, so the longer the test the better, ideally a full thirty minutes. This test should be completed monthly in accordance with Subsection 2.7.3 of the Ontario Fire Code.
Check Your Equipment
There’s more to the emergency and exit lights than meets the eye, and it’s important to inspect all aspects of the equipment. Check that all parts around the light and light casing are clear of dust, debris and corrosion. Check that equipment is securely connected and that there is no loose wiring anywhere.
Once you’ve fully inspected all emergency and exit lights in your building, locate the circuit breaker and check it as well. Ensure that the circuit breakers or fuses that supply power to your emergency lights are working properly. Perform a 30-minute equipment test annually with the help of a certified professional. The 30-minute test is conductedby turning off the circuit breakers and checking that the emergency and exit lights remain lit on battery power for the full duration. Also ensure that emergency exit breakers are properly labelled in your circuit panel – this is a simple step that could be extremely important if someone needs to locate them in an emergency.
Be Consistent and Diligent
The Ontario Fire Code states that emergency and exit lighting must be conducted monthly, and a minimum 30-minute equipment load test be conducted annually, to ensure they can perform properly if the building’s electrical supply fails. Consistent attention to this schedule will ensure that you don’t miss an inspection. Schedule the dates in your appointment calendar for the entire year and make note of when an inspection is coming up. Testing and maintenance needs to be documented in your Fire Log Book, to be maintained on the premises.
Perform your emergency and exit light inspections along with other safety devices, like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as it’s often easier to do things all at once. We also suggest assigning a second person/employee to do this job with you – having another person involved not only makes the job easier but holds you accountable to make sure the task is completed regularly.
We’ve provided you with all the tips you need to perform a monthly test, as well as surrounding equipment checks. Ontario Fire Code Regulation 213/07 requires annual inspections be performed and documented by a certified fire protection service professional, like those at All Protect Systems Inc. To schedule your annual inspections or discuss any questions you may have about your emergency/exit lighting and safety equipment, contact the staff at All Protect Systems Inc. today.