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Do You Know the Future of Exit Signs

Do You Know the Future of Exit Signs


LED exit signs are energy efficient and can last up to 25 years. Compared to typical incandescent units that use up to 40 watts, LED exit signs typically use between 1.5 watts for single face signs and 5 watts for edge lit double face units. Direct view LED exit signs have the longest visibility (100-300 ft.), great for long corridors or large exhibition halls.


LED Exit Sign with Battery Backup

Standalone battery-operated emergency lights must be tested yearly for a minimum of 90 minutes. Hard wired emergency lights must be tested monthly for a minimum of 30 seconds. This includes exit signs with a battery backup. A lower maintenance alternative is a self-testing exit sign which performs routine checks every 30 days for the required 30 seconds so only a visual inspection of the status indicator is required on a monthly basis (NFPA 101(00), Sec. Because photoluminescent exit signs don’t require any electricity when placed in a well-lit area, they are almost maintenance free. Units and the charging light only need to be dusted regularly to ensure that enough light is reaching the unit for it to charge.


Do You Know the Future of Exit Signs?


"The Running Man"

In the U.S., the exit sign hasn’t changed much in almost 100 years. Federal regulations still require “EXIT” be legible on all emergency exit signage. However, if you’ve traveled internationally, you may have seen exits marked by a green pictograph of a stick figure running through a doorway. Designed by Yukio Ota in the late 1970s, this symbol was adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1985. New York City adopted “the running man” in 2006. An update to the fire code now mandates high-rises (buildings 75 ft. or higher) include the pictogram on all fire doors in addition to the red exit signs directing people to the nearest stairwell.

Liteharbor Running Man Exit Sign



Smart Exit Signs

In 2011, the GETAWAY Project kicked off in Spain with the goal to design and test an intelligent emergency sign system to direct train and subway passengers to the nearest viable exit. In 2013 and 2014, evacuation trials took place in Barcelona, testing the dynamic exit signs against static signs. Instead of directing passengers to the nearest exit, the Intelligent Active Dynamic Signage System (DSS) is designed to check the environment for non-viable exits and redirect travelers to the closest viable alternative. Exit signs pointing to a viable exit turn green while exits pointing to non-viable exits change to a red X. Decision time of test subjects improved 44% when the dynamic signs were used.


The latest update in August 2015 suggests researchers are still trying to make the system viable. Required code changes and the risks associated with changing the familiar markings means this technology is probably still many years off. It will be interesting to see if this system will ever come to market.


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