Photoluminescent fire exit signs are an excellent response to a problem that is often overlooked. In the modern big business and industrial world of large, fully-enclosed buildings, structures which often feature interior rooms and winding lengths of corridor without any access to natural lighting, the safety hazards brought on by a reliance on artificial lighting twenty-four hours per day must be addressed. In the case of an emergency situation, when your employees and other visitors might need to get to an emergency exit for a rapid evacuation of your building, it becomes necessary to account for a possible failure in lighting — resulting in a potential mass of people, in a building which may be on fire or structurally unsound, groping about in conditions of complete darkness which we, as human beings, are not designed to cope with.
Flashlights are useful tools — but one can’t put too many options into the hands of people in this kind of a situation, particularly within a potentially dangerous industrial environment. There, too, flashlights are not self illuminating; they require batteries, which must be checked periodically to ensure that they are still viable. Even a completely unused battery connected to a flashlight’s circuit and ready to go at the flip of a switch will experience a slow power drain over time.
What is Photoluminescence?
Photoluminescence is a reference to the natural chemical processes, inherent to certain materials, by which photoluminescent fire exit signs are able to provide enough light to make themselves visible — and to be seen from as far away as seventy-five feet. They do this by means of a phosphorous coating on metallic letters against a dark, contrasting background — usually red, green, or black. If properly installed in a location which, under normal conditions, receives at least five foot-candles of illumination while your building’s standard lighting is operational, the photoluminescent fire exit sign will absorb photons from the light that strikes it. Once that light source goes out — in the event of a generator failure, an electrical system blackout, or the collapse of the computerized system which controls your building’s lighting — the photoluminescent fire exit sign will release its stored photons slowly over time.
This slow release allows for a dim but steady glow — not enough light to read by, but more than enough to be visible under otherwise dark conditions — which may last for up to several hours.
Photoluminescent fire exit signs are self illuminating. They require exposure to normal lighting under normal conditions, but they don’t require their own source of power, and do not need to be connected to a source of electricity. This makes them extremely easy to install, using only basic tools; you don’t require the services of an electrician or other professional. A photoluminescent fire exit sign will last for decades, theoretically even centuries of use, will never “fail,” and requires only the occasional dry wipe to ensure that no dust or other obscuring particles get in the way of the sign’s phosphorescent glow.