Emergency Lighting, Emergency Lights and Exit Signs
Beyond the Bug-Eyes
Emergency Lighting for Modern Design
by Orren Thornes
When Architects and Designers begin their creative process in working towards a final project, life safety items such as emergency lights, fire alarms, and exit signs are not what get their juices flowing. Life safety products are, however, extremely important, and necessary. Care must be taken to stay abreast of Code requirements. Life Safety Code, as defined by NFPA 101, is widely used in the construction industry to determine what requirements and strategies should be followed to protect people from the effects of power outages, fire, and other related hazards that may arise in and around occupied buildings.Numerous regulatory agencies and codes govern emergency lighting and exit sign requirements, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the aforementioned National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), International Building Code and International Fire Code. Additionally, Designers must monitor and adhere to the unique codes that may be required by the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). Emergency lighting is sometimes viewed by Architects as a necessary evil; evil in the respect that those bug-eyes that have been available for them to use distract from the careful design work they put in to make their client's project both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Look down many office building hallways and emergency lights catch your eye (and not in a good way) while exit signs hang slightly crooked over doorways. Code requires enough emergency lighting to ensure, that in the case of an emergency, everyone in the building has enough light to guide everyone to safety. Providing safe egress can mean, depending on the length of a hallway, the size of a room, and any number of other factors, Designers must add more and more emergency lighting fixtures and fire alarms to ensure Code requirements are met. Enter ... Concealite Life Safety Products ... who decided that emergency lights and exit signs are important; but there is no rule suggesting they cannot also be included without detracting from an Architect's hard work in designing aesthetically pleasing spaces. Why do people need to see those ugly bug-eyed fixtures strapped to the wall all the time when they are only needed a small percentage of the time? Why should a Designer's hard work spent in creating that exquisite look be blown up with those eye sores in order to adhere to Code? Concealite's solution, which our customers have been utilizing and enjoying for years, is to conceal those fixtures! For example, our F5 series emergency lights can be inserted into new construction (or retrofitted into existing construction) and painted like the wall around them so that when not in use, they are hidden from view. When a fixture detects a power drop, it automatically flips the emergency lights out of their hibernation and fires the bulbs to properly light the way for people to move about as directed. When power is restored, the fixture's clutch releases, allowing it to flip back into its original state and the battery begins to recharge. How cool is that?! The vast majority of the time emergency lighting is not needed; looking at an ugly fixture on the wall is not necessary. When an emergency happens ... our emergency lighting is right there for you ... lighting your way. To make things even better, our fixtures are so powerful that they cover a larger area, meaning fewer overall fixtures may be needed for adequate Code-required coverage. The same concept is used in some of our other products, including fire alarms. Exit signs can be another area of anxiety for Designers and Architects, who know these are necessary, but there are no real options other than mounting a box over a door or on a wall pointing to a door, right? Wrong! Our newest concealed exit signs, Conceal X, recently won a Lightfair Innovation Award for 2020. Why? It is another product that again defies what has been accepted as the norm; it is not a fixture mounted on a wall; it is a flush-mounted fixture in a wall. As opposed to the typical exit sign, Conceal X is a part of the wall and, therefore, will never hang crooked nor will it become the target of a frustrated passerby; but, it creates a nice clean look where, if desired, the only thing visible is what needs to be visible ... not the box enclosing it. Concealed emergency lighting and fire alarms, like our flush-mounted exit signs, have the added benefit of being more vandal and tamper resistant. Our product line also includes large area as well as exterior emergency lights ... which are much more aesthetically pleasing than most on the market too! There are still more surprises on our owner's drawing table, so stay tuned for more exciting new products!