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Office of Research Services

Serving the NIH Community


Emergency Lighting for NIH Buildings

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) requires most medium to large buildings to be equipped with emergency lighting for the means of egress.
Emergency lighting is required throughout an exit (e.g., an enclosed exit stair or exit passageway) and typically in only the designated egress paths, such as aisles, corridors, stairs and ramps.
The Code requires emergency lighting to be arranged to provide the required illumination automatically in the event of any interruption of normal lighting such as when the primary power supply to a building is lost. In addition, emergency illumination is required for a minimum of 90 minutes in the event of failure of normal lighting.
It is extremely important to note that the Code does not consider a building to be safe for routine occupancy when a loss of normal lighting has occurred. The aforementioned 90 minutes of emergency illumination is based strictly on the need to provide building occupants a reasonable amount of time to evacuate the building until normal lighting has been restored.

If you have any questions concerning emergency lighting for NIH buildings, please contact the Division of the Fire Marshal, Office of Research Services, at 301-496-0487.​