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THE EXIT STORE Exit and Emergency Specialists

Exit Sign Regulations

Overview:
Exit sign regulations are becoming increasingly standardized across the country. Currently, the general consensus can be summarized into these 4: New York City, City of Chicago, City of Los Angeles and everywhere else. The text below generally covers the 'everywhere else' category.
 

Exit Sign Regulations

THESE EXCERPTS ARE PROVIDED WITOUT WARRANTY AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS A SUBSTITUTION FOR CONSULTATION WITH THE PROFESSIONAL CODE SPECIALISTS FAMILIAR WITH THE LOCAL CODES GOVERNING YOUR FACILITY.


California Exit Sign Code Excerpt:
Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 1. General Physical Conditions and Structures Orders
Article 2. Standard Specifications
§3216. Exit Signs.

(a) Luminance. Exit and directional signs shall have a luminance on the face of such signs of not less than 50 lux. The words used on such signs shall be in block letters at least 6 inches in height with a stroke of not less than 3/4 inch. Exception: Existing signs may have the word "EXIT" in lettering not less than 5 inches high with principal strokes of letters of not less than 1/2 inch. Letters shall be of such color or design as to be in strong contrast to the background of the sign. Arrows or other directional symbols shall be of equal visibility to that stipulated herein for letters.

(b) Location. Exit or directional signs, or both, shall be provided at every exit door, at the intersection of corridors, at exit stairways or ramps and at such other locations and intervals as are necessary to provide the occupants with knowledge of the various means of egress available. Exit or directional signs need not be provided for the following:

(1) Any room or building having an occupant load of 50 or less;

(2) Dwellings units in Group R, Division 1 Occupancies;

(3) When approved, the main exterior exit doors obviously and clearly identifiable as exits. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3312(c)(3).)

(c) Electrically Illuminated Signs. Exit and exit directional signs which are required to be electrically illuminated shall be lighted with two electric lamps, either one of which shall be sufficient to provide the required luminance on the face of the sign. NOTE: Radioactive isotope self powered signs with a luminance of not less than 0.02 lamberts during its useful life will be acceptable.

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3312(c)(2).)

NOTE: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code; and Section 18943(c), Health and Safety Code.

Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 1. General Physical Conditions and Structures Orders
Article 2. Standard Specifications
New query

§3217. Decorative Materials.

(a) All drapes, hangings, curtains, drops, and all other similar material, including Christmas trees, located in corridors, stairways, lobbies, ramps, passageways and balconies used as required exits that would tend to increase the fire and panic hazard shall be made from a non-flammable material, or shall be treated and maintained in a flame-retardant condition by means of a flame-retardant solution or process approved by the State Fire Marshal, as set forth in Subchapter 8, Chapter 1, Title 19, CAC.

(b) Exit lights, fire alarm sending stations, wet standpipe hose cabinets, and fire extinguisher locations shall not be concealed by any decorative material. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3301(o).)



NEW YORK
Title 27 / Subchapter 6 180
ARTICLE 6 EXIT LIGHTING

§[C26-605.1] 27-381 Requirements. - Corridors and exits shall be provided with artificial
lighting facilities, except as otherwise permitted by the provisions of subchapter twelve of this chapter, in accordance with the following: (a) Illumination of at least two foot candles
measured at the floor level shall be maintained continuously, during occupancy, in exits and their access facilities for their full length, at changes in direction in and intersections of corridors, balconies, exit passageways, stairs, ramps, escalators, bridges, tunnels,
landings, and platforms, and as provided in subchapter eight of this chapter for places of assembly, except that this requirement shall not apply to dwelling units.

(b) In buildings classified in occupancy groups B-1 and B-2, exit lighting need only be maintained when a section of floor is occupied. (c) Illumination shall be so arranged that the failure of any one light shall not leave any area in darkness.

(d) Phosphorescent materials shall not be used as a method of providing illumination, nor shall battery operated electric lights or portable lamps or lanterns be used as primary sources of lighting. *(e) (1)Buildings and existing buildings containing an F-4 place of assembly with an occupant load of three hundred or more persons shall install emergency lighting in each vertical exit serving the floor on which the place of assembly is located so as to provide a continuously lighted passage to the exterior of the building. Such lighting shall be connected to an emergency power source or to storage battery equipment meeting the requirements of the
commissioner.
(2) Existing buildings required to comply with this subdivision shall install the emergency lighting on or before April first, nineteen hundred eighty-seven.
*Local Law 59-1996.

§[C26-605.2] 27-382 Power source. -

*(a) Where a total of more than four lights is required, exit lighting shall be connected to an
emergency power source or to storage battery equipment meeting the requirements of the
commissioner, provided, however, that in existing buildings, the exit lighting may be on circuits that are separate from the general lighting and power circuits, taken off ahead of the main switch.

(b) Existing high rise buildings classified in occupancy group C, D or H and existing buildings classified in occupancy group E, G or J-1 (except for "residential hotels," as such term is defined by the commissioner pursuant to rules and regulations) shall comply with the requirements of this section on or before April first, nineteen hundred eighty-seven.
*Local Law 59-1996.

***ARTICLE 7 EXIT SIGNS AND OTHER MARKINGS
***§[C26-606.1] 27-383 Requirements.-


(a) Exit signs.- Except in occupancy groups J-2 and J-3, the location of every exit on every floor and every opening from a room classified in occupancy group J-1 and containing cubicles shall be clearly indicated by exit signs. Such signs shall be placed at an angle with the exit opening if
such placement is required for the signs to serve their purpose. In long corridors, in open floor areas, and in all other situations where the location of the exit may not be readily visible or understood, directional signs shall be provided to serve as guides from all portions of the corridor or floor.

(b) Exit path markings in high rise office buildings and in occupancy group E high rise buildings.- On and after July 1, 2006 all high rise office buildings and all high rise buildings classified in occupancy group E shall have exit path markings conforming to this subdivision. This provision shall be retroactive and shall apply to buildings constructed on and after such date and to buildings in existence on such date. All exit path markings required herein shall be of an approved photoluminescent material. The markings shall be washable, non-toxic, non radioactive, and if subjected to fire must be self extinguishing when the flame is removed.

(1) All doors opening to corridors, to an exit, or to an exit passageway, shall be marked with the word “exit”.

(2) Within exit stairs, horizontal extensions in exit stairs, horizontal exits, supplemental vertical exits and exit passageways, except within street level lobbies, there shall be directional markings.

(3) Required markings for exit paths shall comply with the technical standards for installation and placement to be set forth in a reference standard. Such reference standard shall be designated RS 6-1 and shall be adopted on or before January 1, 2006.
***Local Law 26-2004.

**§27-383.1 Additional requirements for high rise office buildings and occupancy group E high rise buildings.- In high rise office buildings and in occupancy group E high rise buildings:
(a) Illuminated exit signs complying with section 27-386 of this subchapter shall be placed in stairwells with horizontal extensions to indicate the transition from vertical to horizontal direction and at turns along the horizontal path.

(b) A supplementary sign complying with sections 27-394 and 27-395 of this subchapter, except that the lettering and numerals shall be at least one inch high, indicating the location of
a recessed re-entry door, shall be securely attached on the wall of the landing that faces the evacuee on the stairs.

(c) In stairs where there is no entry or exiting from such stair for more than four floors, a sign complying with sections

27-394 and 27-395, except that the lettering and numerals shall be at least one inch high, shall be securely attached at the beginning of the descent into such portion of the stair on the wall of the landing that faces the evacuee on the stairs stating the location of the next re-entry or exiting floor. On each floor within such portion of the stair a sign complying with sections 27-392 and 27- 395 shall be securely attached to the wall of the landing that faces the evacuee on the stairs approximately five feet above the floor indicating the floor number.
(d) Signs shall be readily visible from the egress direction.

(e) High rise office buildings and high rise buildings classified in occupancy group E in existence on October 22, 2004 shall comply with this section on or before July 1, 2007. For the purpose of this section, a high rise building shall be deemed to be in existence on October 22, 2004 if on such date it is complete or under construction or where an application for approval of plans was filed with the department prior to such date and construction commenced within two
years after such date.
**Local Law 26-2004.

§[C26-606.2] 27-384 Power source. -

*(a) Where a total of more than four exit and/or directional signs is required, the signs shall be
connected to an emergency power source or to storage battery equipment meeting the requirements of the commissioner, provided, however, that in existing buildings, the signs may be on circuits that are separate from the general lighting and power circuits, taken off ahead of the main switch.
*Local Law 59-1996.
(b) Existing high rise buildings classified in occupancy group C, D or H and existing buildings classified in occupancy group E, G or J-1 (except for "residential hotels," as such term is defined by the commissioner pursuant to rules and regulations) shall comply with the requirements of this section on or before April first, nineteen hundred eighty-seven.

**(c) Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the existing buildings required to comply with subdivision (b) of this section, all such existing exit and/or directional signs on circuits taken off ahead of the main switch shall be connected to an emergency power source or to storage battery equipment meeting the requirements of the commissioner on or before July 1, 2007.
**Local Law 26-2004.

§[C26-606.3] 27-385 Exit sign design. -
Exit signs shall read only "exit" and shall be of the externally lighted, internally lighted, or electroluminescent type, except that they may be nonilluminated in buildings not provided with artificial lighting.

(a) The artificial light source on externally lighted signs shall provide a red light, either by the use of an incandescent colored bulb or other visible red light source, so as to provide at least twenty-five foot candles on the exposed face of the sign. Visibility of the sign shall not be obscured by the location of the light source.

(b) For internally lighted signs, the average initial brightness of the letters shall be at least twenty-five ft. lamberts, and where an illuminated background is used, its average initial brightness shall be at least two hundred fifty ft. lamberts. The light source shall not be
modified or changed nor shall lamp life multipliers be used so as to reduce these brightness levels.

(c) The letters of exit signs shall be red. The background of externally lighted signs shall be white. The background of internally lighted signs shall be either stenciled metal with a light gray or white color, or translucent frosted, opal glass, slow-burning plastic, or the plastic edgeglow type with white plastic separators. The letters for internally lighted signs shall be translucent red.

(d) The letters shall be block lettering at least four and one-half inches high with nine-sixteenths inch strokes, except in buildings and spaces classified in occupancy group F and J-1, where they shall be at least eight inches high with the strokes at least three-quarters of an inch wide.

(e) In locations where breakage may occur, exit signs shall be of shock resistant materials, or shall otherwise be protected against breakage.

(f) Except for buildings not provided with artificial lighting and buildings which maintain one or more auxiliary systems for emergency exit lighting in the event of a public utility failure, there shall be either (1) an illuminated exit sign with the background thereon made of an approved phosphorescent material or (2) a material with an opaque text and placed adjacent to or as close as possible to such illuminated sign. The phosphorescent material after exposure to normal lighting conditions shall be capable of remaining visible in total darkness for a period of at least eight hours. The signs shall be washable, non-toxic, non-radioactive and if subjected to fire must be self-extinguishing when the flame is removed.

§[C26-606.4] 27-386 Directional sign design .-
Directional exit signs shall comply with all of the
requirements for exit signs in section 27-385 of this article, and shall read "EXIT" with a horizontal arrow or arrows indicating the direction to the exit or exits.
However, when the arrow is below the letters, the letters may be three and three-eighths inches high and ninesixteenths inch strokes, except in buildings and spaces classified in occupancy group F where they shall be at least five inches high with nine-sixteenths inch strokes.
The arrow or arrows shall be red.

§[C26-606.5] 27-387 False exits. -
Any door, passageway, stair, or other means of communication that is not an exit or that is not a way to an exit, but is so located as to be mistaken for an exit, shall be identified with a sign reading "NOT AN EXIT," shall be identified by a sign indicating its use or purpose or shall be provided with a directional exit sign.

Title 27 / Subchapter 6 182
ARTICLE 8 EXIT SIGNS FOR EXISTING BUILDINGS
§[C26-607.1] 27-388 Retroactive provisions. –

Except as otherwise provided, the provisions of this subchapter are not retroactive except that the provisions of this article and article nine of subchapter six of this chapter for certain existing office buildings are retroactive. Signs required by this article must be installed no later than March sixth, nineteen hundred sixty-nine. Where auxiliary systems for emergency exit
lighting are to be provided, the installation must commence no later than May sixth, nineteen hundred sixty-nine.

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