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.