Requirements and Your Responsibilities
Emergency Lighting Equipment is different from other types of backup power equipment. It is designed and tested for use in Life Safety Emergency situations. Its performance is critical to the safe evacuation and movement of people in case of a power outage and is therefore held to and tested to a higher standard than other backup power systems.
Emergency Lighting Equipment used in this country is required to be tested by an independent Underwriter's Laboratories (UL). This means that the product has been submitted for evaluation and testing in accordance with the Life Safety Emergency Lighting Standard # UL924. All aspects of the product construction, material and performance are documented in a Report, which is kept on file at UL.
Any unauthorized changes to the product whether at the factory or in the field voids the UL listing. This UL listing mark is important because the local inspection authorities rely on this to determine that an Emergency Lighting product is acceptable for installations which require this type of equipment.
The type of installation is determined by the National Electrical Code (NEC), Article 700 and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code #101. These two codes dictate the installation and maintenance requirements for this equipment. If this equipment is not installed, maintained, and serviced in accordance with these code requirements, the building owner can be cited and the building shut down until corrections are made.
Finally, if repairs are required, (including battery replacement) they should be made using the proper material as noted in the original UL listing report and they must be accomplished in a timely manner. If this is not done, the UL listing no longer applies. Failure to do so can result in the following consequences: The system may not properly fulfill its function during an emergency, thus causing injury or fatality. Additional damage to the system may result. The inspection authority may cite or fine the owner, or actually shut down the building. If an injury occurs, an Insurance company may deny claim for damages since this could be seen as negligence. The person who made the decision regarding the repair or non-repair of the Life Safety equipment could be held liable.
We hope that this information helps you to make a proper and informed decision regarding the repair and maintenance of your Emergency Lighting System.
Battery Code Violation
Most End Users, Battery Suppliers, Electrical Contractors, and Facilities personnel are unaware of the difference in operation and legal requirements between Emergency Lighting Equipment and other types of battery backup systems.
Emergency Lighting systems are Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed as Life Safety Equipment and therefore have very stringent requirements that must be met in their construction and performance. Equipment that is to be used for emergency lighting must be listed for this category as determined by the National Electrical Code (NEC), Article 700 and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code #101. These codes dictate the specifics as to when, where, what, and how Emergency Lighting Equipment shall be used. They also dictate that all Emergency Lighting Systems must have periodic maintenance with records kept on file of this maintenance.
Emergency Lighting Equipment listed by Underwriters Laboratories (under UL Standard #924) must meet performance testing requirements since it will be relied upon to provide a specified amount of power for 90 minutes during a power outage. The UL listing report will indicate which specific batteries the unit is to be provided with and this information is included with the system in the form of markings. If any other batteries are placed in one of these systems, it causes the UL listing to be meaningless. In this case, a Code violation occurs due to these changes.
• If this is discovered, the local Inspection Authority can shut down the building in question until corrections are made to bring the unit back into compliance.
• Whoever made, and authorized the changes can be held liable in the event of injury during a power outage.
• If a claim is filed because of an injury, the insurance company could deny any claim due to this negligent act. This would put all parties involved at great financial risk and could also result in punitive damages.
• In addition to the legal ramifications, most battery suppliers are not aware of the necessary changes/adjustments to the charger and electronics that are required when a different battery is installed.
• This could also cause premature battery failure or excess gassing and possible explosion of the hydrogen in the battery during a transfer to emergency.
• This situation doesn't give the customer a reliable system for Life Safety required in his/her building.