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Include Photoluminescence In Your New Construction Plan

Life & Fire Safety
include photoluminescence in new construction plan

Thanks to modern construction materials being used, buildings are being built quickly and efficiently. However, as convenient as this is, it can create some fire safety issues. Modern construction materials are built with engineered beams of wood, which are small pieces of wood glued together. This makes the wood lightweight allowing it to burn quickly and collapse almost instantaneously. Not only does the wood burn faster, but modern furniture and coverings, which are made out of synthetic materials don’t help either. Because modern construction and furnishings go up in flames so quickly, it is essential for new construction buildings to be installed with a fire and life safety protection system. Part of a building’s overall fire safety is making sure that your building has a photoluminescent egress path marking system and exit signs.

Being trapped in a burning building is a frightening thing anyway. And although the fear of burning is terrifying enough, smoke inhalation is the culprit of most victims in the event of a fire. Smoke rises, and can quickly fill any room, hallway, and stairwell. According to NFPA, smoke travels 120 – 420 feet per minute under fire conditions. Not only does smoke spread quickly, but it clouds occupant’s vision, which causes them to become disorientated. Trying to evacuate from a burning building while staying calm is difficult enough. Smoke masking your line of vision makes evacuation seem almost impossible. Especially in high-rise facilities where it might take those on the top floors longer to make it down and out of the building safely. That’s why it is important to include the installation of photoluminescent (PL) egress path marking system and exit signs in your new construction plan.

Photoluminescent egress path marking system and exit signs are used to help illuminate steps, landings, handrails and any other obstacles in smoky conditions. Dark and smoky hallways and stairwells seems to be where most accidents occur. Occupants may slip, trip and fall, or bump into something they can’t see in the dark or smoke. But PL allows a building to have continuous visual support up to 48 hours in black out or smoky condition. It requires no electricity, and produces sunlight or recycles existing electrical light. Therefore, PL doesn’t need to rely on any emergency backup system or maintenance in order to glow.

Both the International Building Code (IBC) and the International Fire Code (IFC) state, “luminous egress path markings that outline the exit path should be provided in buildings having floors that are located more than 75 feet above the lowest level of a fire department vehicle”. Otherwise, occupants on top floors may find it difficult to evacuate and become trapped. Photoluminescent egress path marking system and exit signs are an important part to a buildings overall fire safety plan. Without it, people may not be able to navigate their way through the dark and smoke to safety.

Other Codes That Requires Means of Egress:

  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code 101 – Section 7.10, Making of Means of Egress
  • State of California Building Code – Chapter 10, Means of Egress requires in Group A, E, I, R-1, R-2 and R-3 Occupancies, in Exit corridors leading to Emergency Exit stairwells.
  • State of Connecticut, Section 1026 – Requires in Group A, B, E, I-1, I-2, R-1 and R-2 occupancies, in Exit corridors leading to Emergency Exit stairwells.
  • New York City Building Code —All non-residential structures
  • New York City Local Law 26 Compliance
  • General Services Administration (GSA) – Exit Path Markings

Modern construction materials make throwing up buildings quicker and cheaper, but that also means it will take less time for a building to become completely engulfed in flames and smoke. That’s why a building’s fire protection features are an important part of the construction process. And if your building isn’t properly installed with photoluminescent egress path markers and exit signs, this could cause people to become stuck in a bad situation that could lead to injuries or even death. So, whether your facility is new construction or undergoing renovations, making sure that your building has properly installed photoluminescent egress path markers and exit signage is part of your buildings over all fire and life safety protection.

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