Tuesday, December 16, 2014

MSMS Exit Signs/Emergency Lighting

Certain exit signs and emergency lights can be connected to the fire alarm system. While the school does not have this at this time, it is a possibility. When the school replaces all the exit signs (they must all have this feature), they can order the “Fire alarm interface” option. When a signal is sent to the exit signs from the panel, the letters will flash on and off to attract attention to the sign. The flashes are slow with about a one-second time with the sign not being lit. This is uncommon, but can be found. The signs will remain consistently lit during normal times. The current setup here include red edge- lit signs, which feature a panel of glass with “EXIT” printed on it with LED-sensitive ink, with a strip of LEDs aiming down at the glass from the recessed box in the wall/ceiling where the actual electronics are. For higher-traffic areas, Lithonia Signature exit signs with red letters, black housing and brushed aluminum face are installed. No extra features (besides the normal required battery backup) are in use at this time.

Green letters, which are used in some installations and are occasionally seen here in this state, make much more sense than red, although many installations in eastern Massachusetts are red, despite the state allowing either color. Green light is easier for the eye to see, especially in conditions with reduced visibility, like smoke. Signs in almost all countries use a green sign with a symbol to make sure everyone understands the sign. Green LED signs use half the energy as red LED signs. On traffic lights, red means “stop” and green means “go.” Green light will stand out in flame-filled conditions, unlike red which blends in. With limited oxygen, people should not have to specifically look for the sign. It should stand out. When all the signs are replaced (the colors must be consistent), green exit signs should be used. State codes allow for either color, although red is, for some reason, currently recommended.

Another good idea is to install low level exit signs, and anti-slip glow-in-the-dark tape on stairs. Smoke can often obscure overhead exit signs, rendering them possibly useless. People will crawl on the ground if they have to, and will likely not notice exit signs even if they are not obscured. These signs are not very expensive, and require no electricians. They are mounted like a regular sheet of metal. They can easily save lives. This photoluminescent sign should also be installed in place of the old, broken electrical sign behind the curtain left over from before the renovation. The one behind the stage can be replaced with a new LED exit/emergency light hybrid with black housing. The other one above the stairs next to the stage could be more involved, so that can wait. Even though there is a sign inside the staircase, it is only visible from a few angles. In addition to low-level signs, staircases and other places where someone could be easily lost should be marked with glow-in-the-dark tape. The emergency lighting in the building relies on battery backup ballasts in some of the regular lights. The bulbs can burn out, batteries can fail and the light is not very evenly distributed throughout the halls. The auditorium does not even seem to have any emergency lighting other than exit signs. There are lots of places to trip and fall, or bump into something. The people using the spotlights are constantly falling down the stairs because they need to be quick when doing something, and it is usually dark during assemblies. These absorb light from the windows and lights that are always on during the day. Therefore, they will not add any operating costs to the electric bill. These are not required by law but is highly recommended in Massachusetts. These technologies can and will prevent many injuries and even save lives in case of an emergency. These and green exit signs  should be required by law (or at least recommended) in all new installations.

Green signs will be much more obvious in fire………………………………….Compared to this.


Green North American signs resemble the international sign much more closely than the red version. This is important as more and more people come to Massachusetts that are not familiar with the English language. The language issue is avoided, and the legibility is not worsened.

Great job Josh!!

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