Emergency & EXIT Lighting Requirements 

Did you know that you are required by law to have and test regularly exit & emergency lighting systems? Do not take a chance with such serious matters: avoid serious liabilities and fines by having, maintaining and testing adequate exit and emergency lighting systems in your building(s).

All lighting systems that we design and install rigorously adhere to the current lighting regulations and the best practices in your area. As for testing, rely on our exclusive, patented methodology of testing exit signs and emergency lighting systems - it is more affordable than you think, and it is the law!

The following are some lighting regulations on test and maintaining Emergency & EXIT lighting systems:

OSHA Code of Federal Regulations

• Requires adequate and reliable illumination for all exits 
• Requires proper maintenance to assure that exit lighting is in continuously proper operating condition

NFPA 70 - National Electric Code

• Requires specific illumination and performance of emergency and exit lights 
• Provides functional standards for battery-powered emergency and exit lighting

NFPA 101 - Life Safety Code 
• Requires a monthly inspection of all emergency and exit lighting systems 
• Requires an annual test of all emergency and exit lighint systems

International Fire Code 
• Requires proper illumination of means of egress 
• Requires assurance that emergency and exit lighting systems will provide illumination for at least 60 minutes

NFPA 1997 5-9.3
Periodic Testing of Emergency Lighting Equipment
An annual test shall be conducted for a 1-1/2 hour duration. Equipment shall be fully functional for the duration of the test.

Standard Fire Prevention Code 1999
807.1.4 Exit Illumination and Signs A functional test shall be conducted on every required emergency lighting system at 30-day intervals for a minimum of


5-8.1 General.

5-8.1.1 Illumination of means of egress shall be provided in accordance with section 7.8 for every building and structure where required in Chapters 11 through 42. For the purposes of this requirement, exit access shall include only designated stairs, aisles, corridors, ramps, escalators, and passageways leading to an exit.

5-8.1.2 Illumination of means of egress shall be continuous during the time that the conditions of occupancy require that the means of egress be available for use. Artificial Lighting shall be employed at such places and for such periods of time as required to maintain the illumination to the minimum footcandle {Lux(lx)} values herein specified.

5-8.1.3* The floors of means of egress shall be illuminated at all points including angles and intersections of corridors and passageways, stairways, landings of stairs, and exit doors to values of not less than 1 footcandle (10 lx) measured at the floor. Exception: In assembly occupancies, the illumination of the floors of exit access shall be not less than 1/5 footcandle (2 lx) during periods of performances or projections involving directed light.

5-8.1.4 Any required illumination shall be so arranged that the failure of any single Lighting unit, such as the burning out of an electric bulb, will not leave any area in darkness.


5-9.1 General.

5-9.1.1 Emergency Lighting facilities for means of egress shall be provided in accordance with this section for every building or structure where required in Chapters 8 through 30. For the purposes of this requirement, exit access shall include only designated stairs, aisles, corridors, ramps, escalators, and passageways leading to an exit.

5-9.1.2 Where maintenance of illumination depends upon changing from one energy source to another, there shall be no appreciable interruption of illumination during the changeover. Where emergency Lighting is provided by a prime mover-operated electric generator, a delay of not more than 10 seconds shall be permitted.

5-9.2 Performance of System.

5-9.2.1* Emergency illumination shall be provided for a period of 1 1/2 hours in the event of failure of normal Lighting. Emergency Lighting facilities shall be arranged to provide initial illumination that is no less than an average of 1 footcandle (10 lx) and a minimum at any point of .1 footcandle (1 lx) measured along the path of egress at floor level. Illumination levels may decline to .6 footcandle (6 lx) average and a minimum at any point of .06 footcandle (.6 lx) at the end of the emergency Lighting time duration. A maximum to minimum illumination uniformity ratio of 40 to 1 shall not be exceeded.

5-9.2.2* The emergency Lighting system shall be so arranged as to provide the required illumination automatically in the event of any interruption of normal Lighting, such as any failure of public utility or other outside electrical power supply, opening of a circuit breaker or fuse, or any manual act(s), including accidental opening of a switch controlling normal Lighting facilities.

5-9.2.3 Emergency generators used to provide power to emergency Lighting systems shall be installed, tested, and maintained in accordance with NFPA 110, Emergency and Standby Power Systems.

5-9.2.4* Battery-operated emergency lights shall use only reliable types of rechargeable batteries provided with suitable facilities for maintaining them in properly charged condition. Batteries used in such lights or units shall be approved for their intended use and shall comply with NFPA 70, National Electrical Code.®

5-9.2.5 The emergency Lighting system shall be either continuously in operation or capable of repeated automatic operation without manual intervention.

5-9.3 Testing and Maintenance.


5-10.1 General.

5-10.1.1 Means of egress shall be marked in accordance with this section where required in Chapters 8 through 30.

5-10.1.2* Exits shall be marked by an approved sign readily visible from any direction of exit access.
Exception: Main exterior exit doors that obviously and clearly are identifiable as exits.

5-10.1.3 Access to exits shall be marked by approved readily visible signs in all cases where the exit or way to reach it is not readily apparent to the occupants. Sign placement shall be such that no point in the exit access is more than 100 ft (30 m) from the nearest visible sign.

5-10.1.4* Where floor proximity exit signs are specifically required by Chapters 8 through 30, exit signs shall be placed near the floor level in addition to those signs required for doors or corridors by 5-10.1.2 and 5-10.1.3. These signs shall be sized and illuminated in accordance with the requirements of 5-10.2 and 5-10.3. The bottom of the sign shall be not less than 6 in. (15.2 cm) nor more than 8 in. (20.3 cm) above the floor. For exit doors, the sign shall be mounted on the door or adjacent to the door with the closest edge of the sign within 4 in.(10.2cm) of the door frame.

5-10.1.5* Every sign required by Section 5-10 shall be so
located and of such size, distinctive color, and design as to be readily visible and shall provide contrast with decorations, interior finish, or other signs. No decorations, furnishings, or equipment that impair visibility of an exit sign shall be permitted, nor shall there be any brightly illuminated sign (for other than exit purposes), display, or object in or near the line of vision of the required exit sign of such a character as to so detract attention from the exit sign.

5-10.1.6 Where floor proximity egress path marking is specifically required by Chapters 8 through 30, a listed and approved floor proximity egress path marking system that is internally illuminated shall be installed within 8 in. (20.3 cm) of the floor. The system shall provide a visible delineation of the path of travel along the designated exit access and shall be essentially continuous, except as interrupted by doorways, hallways, corridors, or other such architectural features. The system shall operate continuously or at any time the building fire alarm system is activated. The activation, duration, and continuity of operation of the system shall be in accordance with 5-9.2.

5-10.2* Size of Signs.

5-10.2.1 Externally illuminated signs required by 5-10.1 and 5-10.4.11 shall have the word “EXIT” or other appropriate wording in plainly legible letters not less than 6 in. (15.2 cm) high with the principal strokes of letters not less than 3/4 in. (1.9 cm) wide. The word “EXIT” shall have letters of a width not less than 2 in. (5 cm) except the letter “I,” and the minimum spacing between letters shall be not less than 3/8 in. (1 cm). Signs larger than the minimum established in this paragraph shall have letter widths, strokes, and spacing in proportion to their height.

5-10.2.2 Internally illuminated signs required by 5-10.1 and 5- shall have the word “EXIT” or other appropriate wording in letters legible from a distance of at least 100 ft (30 m) under all normal and emergency Lighting conditions (30 fc and 1 fc, respectively). Internally illuminated signs shall be listed in accordance with UL 924.

5-10.3 Illumination of Signs.

5-10.3.1* Every sign required by 5-10.1.2 or 5-10.1.3 shall be suitably illuminated by a reliable light source. Externally and internally illuminated signs shall be visible in both the normal and emergency Lighting mode.

5-10.3.2* Externally illuminated signs shall be illuminated by not less than 5 footcandles (54 lx) and shall employ a contrast ratio of not less than 0.5.

5-10.4 Specific Requirements.

5-10.4.1 Directional Signs.

5-* A sign complying with 5-10.2 reading “EXIT” or a similar designation with a directional indicator showing the direction of travel shall be placed in every location where the direction of travel to reach the nearest exit is not apparent. Directional signs shall be listed.

5-10.4.2* Special Signs. Any door, passage, or stairway that is neither an exit nor a way of exit access and that is so located or arranged that it is likely to be mistaken for an exit shall be identified by a sign reading “NO EXIT.” Such sign shall have the word “NO” in letters 2 in. (5 cm) high with stroke width of 3/8 in. (1 cm) and the word EXIT in letters 1 in. (2.5 cm) high, with the word EXIT below the word NO.
Exception: Approved existing signs.
Figure 5-


31-1.3.7 Periodic Testing of Emergency Lighting Equipment. A functional test shall be conducted on every required emergency Lighting system at 30-day intervals for a minimum of 30 seconds. An annual test shall be conducted for the 1 1/2 hour duration of the test. Written records of visual inspections and tests shall be kept by the owner for inspection by the authority having jurisdiction.

Exception: Self-testing/self-diagnostic, battery-operated emergency Lighting equipment that automatically performs a minimum 30-second test and diagnostic routine at least once every 30 days and indicates failures by a status indicator shall be exempt from the 30-day functional test, provided a visual inspection is performed at 30-day intervals.

Please keep in mind that it is not the responsibility of the AHJ, to check your lights and maintain records, it's yours as the building owner, and or life safety manager. It is advised that you ALWAYS keep written records from any AHJ official, for insurance and employee safety requirements.

Emergency & Exit Lights