In cases where egress of a building during a power outage at night might require the people leaving to walk through shadowed areas or areas hidden from normal lighting, outdoor emergency lighting is required. These areas might include covered entryways and walkways, enclosed patios, service entrances and walkways where a lot of foliage blocks natural lighting.
Outdoor emergency lights provide emergency egress illumination in environments that feature any type of normal moisture or dust such as rain or windblown dust. Outdoor emergency lights are also known as wet location, weatherproof, and waterproof emergency lights. There are a number of outdoor emergency light models that we offer so please make sure to take your time picking the right now.
When emergency lighting needs to be installed outdoors, special lighting is needed. Standard interior emergency lights are not weather sealed to prevent damage from the elements. Wet location emergency lights are hermetically sealed, by the installation of gaskets throughout the case, around the lens, and at power cable entry points. These gaskets prevent water from entering the light during rain, snow and even sleet.
The National Electric Code divides exterior lighting applications into two distinct categories:
Additionally, we can add a third category; that of Cold Weather Wet Locations - In environments where freezing temperatures are the norm, it is a good idea to protect your emergency lights with an internal heater. This prevents the battery from freezing, insuring full power availability when needed. Both lead-acid and nickel-cadmium batteries are susceptible to reduced power output and even failure from the cold.
The NFPA Life Safety Code requires emergency lighting of all egress paths from a building’s exit to public street or walkway. Additionally, according to the Universal Building Code, the minimum lighting requirement for all egress points, is 1 foot-candle of illumination, 1 foot above floors and walkways. This requirement includes both emergency and non-emergency egress.
While wall mounted lighting can be used near building exit points, it will not provide ample illumination of all walkways, especially as those walkways get farther from the building. The solution to these requirements is to install pole mounted normally on outdoor emergency lights to cover all exterior walkways, up to the public street or walkway. These pole mounted lights operate as normal exterior lights when electrical power is available, but have internal capability to switch over to battery power in a power-loss situation.
Other than being a “normally on” light, which is used for illumination of egress points during normal building operations, outdoor emergency lights function much as normal emergency lights. The internal circuit board senses loss of electrical power and switches over to battery backup. This battery backup is designed to last for a minimum of 90 minutes. A test button is standard, which cuts power to the light, so that the triggering circuitry, battery and bulb can all be tested.
All outdoor lights must be installed on a Ground-Fault (GFI) circuit for protection from fire caused by loss of a ground connection.
Outdoor Emergency Light Advances
Outdoor emergency lights have gone through a number of advances in relation to illumination and operational technology. Recently, fluorescent lamps have been adapted to outdoor emergency lights to reduce maintenance and improve efficiency. The higher lumens per watt ratio of fluorescent lights means that about half of the amount of electricity can be used to produce the same amount of light as a conventional incandescent lamp.
Because of this, fluorescent outdoor emergency lights can utilize smaller, more efficient nickel cadmium emergency light batteries. Traditionally reserved for LED exit signs, ni cad emergency light batteries are becoming a popular choice for o utdoor emergency lights because they require replacement less often, and thus reduce maintenance time and cost.
Self-diagnostic testing is another option that is popular for outdoor emergency lights that will be placed in wet locations that feature harsh weather. Self-testing emergency lights eliminate the monthly and yearly testing requirements for emergency lights. These tests are performed by the light itself and a series of LED indicators alerts maintenance staff to any malfunctions or a dead battery. There are many different options to consider when purchasing outdoor emergency lights.
We have a full staff of outdoor emergency light experts here to help you find the right wet location emergency light for your project. For additional information, a quote, or formal invoice, please email the production team today or give us a call our toll free at 800-480-0707 to speak with a product specialist.