NFPA 101 , Life Safety Code
In 1913, the NPFA s Committee on Safety to Life began an analysis of notable fires involving loss of life. This work led to the development of standards for stairways, fire escapes, and exit facilities that were published in 1916 (Outside Stairs for Fire Exits) and 1918 (Safeguarding Factory Workers from Fire). These standards were expanded and merged with other safety standards in 1921, and published as the Buildings Exits Code.
A deadly series of fires between 1942 and 1946 (notably the November 19, 1942 Cocoanut Grove Night Club Fire in Boston, Massachusetts, and the December 7, 1946 Winecoff Fire in Atlanta, Georgia) led to the beginning of a revision of the Building Exits Code from a tool for building contractors to a a potential model code, and several versions were published before the Committee on Safety to Life was restructured in 1963. For the 1966 version, the name was changed from the Building Exits Code to Code for Safety to Life from Fire in Buildings and Structures. After further reorganization and several versions later, the modern Life Safety Code had become the modern code which would be widely adopted in the United States as model legislature.
The portion of the NFPA 101 , Life Safety Code that applies to emergency lighting, exit signs, and means of egress is presented below (from the 2015 edition). The NFPA 101, Life Safety Code is a model code, and while some states or localities have implemented the code in full, other states or locality have implemented only certain parts and changed others. For the most accurate information on your local codes, check with your local code enforcement agency.
NFPA 101 , Life Safety Code
Administered and published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Life Safety Code addresses those construction, protection, and occupancy features necessary to minimize danger to life from fire, including smoke, fumes, or panic, and establishes minimum criteria for the design of egress facilities so as to allow prompt escape of occupants from buildings or, where desirable, into safe areas within buildings.
(2) Prevention of injury incurred by an individual due to that individual s failure to use reasonable care
(3) Preservation of property from loss by Fire
(2) Underground and limited access structures as addressed in Section 11.7
(3) High rise buildings as required by other sections of this Code
(4) Doors equipped with delayed-egress locks
(5) Stair shafts and vestibules of smokeproof enclosures, for which the following also apply:
(a) The stair shaft and vestibule shall be permitted to include a standby generator that is installed for the smokeproof enclosure mechanical ventilation equipment.
(b) The standby generator shall be permitted to be used for the stair shaft and vestibule emergency lighting power supply.
(6) New access-controlled egress doors in accordance with 126.96.36.199.2
(2) Opening of a circuit breaker or fuse
(3) Manual act(s), including accidental opening of a switch controlling normal lighting facilities.
(2) The test internval shall be permitted to be extended beyond 30 days with the approval of the authority having jurisdiction.
(3) Functional testing shall be conducted annually for a minimum of 1 hours if the emergency lighting system is battery powered.
(4) The emergency lighting equipment shall be fully operational for the duration of the tests required by 188.8.131.52.1(1) and 184.108.40.206.1(3).
(5) Written records of visual inspections and tests shall be kept by the owner for inspection by the authority having jurisdiction.
(2) Not less than once every 30 days, self-testing/self-diagnostic battery-operated emergency lighting equipment shall automatically perform a test with a duration of a minimum 30 seconds and a diagnostic routine.
(3) Self-testing/self-diagnostic battery-operated emergency lighting equipment shall indicate failures by a status indicator.
(4) A visual inspection shall be performed at internvals not exceeding 30 days.
(5) Self-testing/self-diagnostic battery-operated emergency lighting equipment shall be fully operational for the duration of the 1 -hour test.
(6) Written records of visual inspections and test shall be kept by the owner for inspection by the authority having jurisdiction.
(2) Not less than once every 30 days, emergency lighting equipment shall automatically perform a test with a duration of a minimum of 30 seconds and a diagnostic routine.
(3) The emergency lighting equipment shall automatically perform annually a test for a minimum of 1 hours.
(4) The emergency lighting equipment shall be fully operational for the duration of the tests required by 220.127.116.11.3(2) and 18.104.22.168.3(3).
(5) The computer-based system shall be capable of providing a report of the history of tests and failures at all times.
(2) Tactile signage shall read as follows: EXIT.
(3) Tactile signage shall comply with ICC/ANSI A117.1, American National Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities.
22.214.171.124 Where approved by the authority having jurisdiction, pictograms in compliance with NFPA 170, Standard for Fire Safety and Emergency Symbols, shall be permitted.
(2) For existing signs, the required wording shall be permitted to be plainly legible letters not less than 4 in. (100 mm) high.
(3) The word EXIT shall be in letters of a width not less than 2 in. (51 mm), except the letter I, and the minimum spacing between letters shall be not less than 3/8 in. (9.5 mm).
(4) Sign legend elements larger than the minimum established in 126.96.36.199.1(1) through (3) shall use letter widths, strokes, and spacing in proportion to their height.
(2) The directional indicator shall be of a chevron type, as shown in Figure 188.8.131.52.1.
(3) The directional indicator shall be identifiable as a directional indicator at a distance of 40 ft (12 m).
(4) A directional indicator larger than the minimum established for compliance with 184.108.40.206.1(3) shall be proportionately increased in height, width and stroke.
(5) The directional indicator shall be located at the end of the sign for the direction indicated.
220.127.116.11.2 The requirements of 18.104.22.168.1 shall not apply to approved existing signs.
(2) They are existing signs having the required wording in legible letters not less than 4 in. (100 mm) high.
(3) They are signs that are in accordance with 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199.
188.8.131.52.2 The NO EXIT sign shall have the word NO in letters 2 in. (51 mm) high, with a stroke width of 3/8 in. (9.5 mm), and the word EXIT in letters 1 in. (25 mm) high, with the word EXIT below the word NO, unless such sign is an approved existing sign.
(2) Signs that indicate the operational status of elevators
7.13 Normally Unoccupied Building Service Equipment Support Areas.