Photoluminescent Egress Lighting: Are You Ready for the Next NYC Power Outage?

Photoluminescent Egress Lighting: Are You Ready for the Next NYC Power Outage?Much of Manhattan was left in the dark on July 13, 2019, the anniversary of the 1977 blackout, disabling buildings and bringing traffic to a standstill. The power outage, which stretched 30 blocks from Times Square all the way to the Upper West Side, left 73,000 customers, residents, and tourists without electricity for four hours. According to Con Edison CEO, John McAvoy, the power outage was caused by a problem at the substation.

During the blackout, doormen lit up the entrances of upscale apartment buildings with flashlights, directing residents up several flights of stairs to their apartments due to the elevators being out of service. Broadway musicals and plays were cancelled. Jennifer Lopez’s concert was cut short at the fourth song. Restaurants faced great financial loss due to malfunctioning of equipment, product loss, and having to turn away business. History tells us that this will not be the last power outage to hit New York City and surrounding areas. Is your business ready for the next NYC blackout?

Local Law 26 requires New York City buildings to have code compliant, photoluminescent egress lighting in emergency exit stairwells. The glow in the dark materials provide lighted guidance to help tenants and occupants safely exit a building during a power outage, fire, or any type of emergency.

What the NYC Department of Buildings (DoB) LL 26 States

To ensure compliance and avoid hefty fines by putting building occupants in harm’s way, Local Law 26 states in the event of a fire or emergency:

  • Photoluminescent markings and signs are required for buildings over 75 feet in height
  • Photoluminescent signs must be installed on doors leading to exits
  • Photoluminescent markings must be installed on exit stairs
  • Markers are required for office buildings, hotels, schools, and universities
  • The markings must be self-illuminating, washable, non-toxic, non-radioactive, and must be self-extinguishing when a flame is removed (if subjected to a fire)
  • All doors opening to a corridor, an exit, or an exit passageway, must be marked with the word ‘exit’

Whether you need to have photoluminescent egress lighting and signs installed or you need to have them tested, they are a critical, and legally mandated addition to your building’s fire safety requirements. Regularly scheduled testing is important. The markings absorb and store energy from daylight or indoor, artificial lighting. Age and general wear-and-tear affect their potency. They must remain effective to keep the building in compliance.

Protect your staff and tenants during the next NYC power outage with code-compliant photoluminescent lighting installed and tested by Total Fire Protection.