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Emergency Lighting and UL 924: A Closer Look

In 2015, there were approximately 3,500 power outages reported in the United States. Most of these are caused by storms or fires. These power outages are why emergency lighting is so important.

But what is emergency lighting? How do you choose the right emergency light for your building? Where can you purchase an LED emergency light?

The good news is that Underwriters Laboratories has safety standards for emergency lighting in commercial buildings. Read on to learn about emergency light standards and UL 924.

Underwriters Laboratories

Underwriters Laboratories, or UL, is an international independent company that specializes in product safety certification. The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has approved the company to test and create safety standards for the United States.  This includes testing building and construction materials, creating safety standards for commercial buildings, and testing tools and heavy machinery.

UL’s board consists of firemen, construction workers, electricians, manufacturers, and even realtors all working together to ensure the safety of all homes and workplaces. They deal with all sorts of materials and components and test them to determine if they’re safe during emergencies.

UL 924 is their policy about emergency lighting. Where should it be placed? When should it come on and for how long?

All of these issues and more are addressed by UL 924, and it provides a list of approved emergency lighting products.

UL 924 Emergency Lighting Standards

If the lights go out in a commercial building, then anyone inside needs a good and safe way to exit. Emergency lighting stays on or comes on when the building loses power to guide people to safety. The UL 924 creates the standards for emergency lighting distance, duration, materials, and testing.


The first thing every architect needs to decide is where to place emergency lighting. People should be able to see it from a fair distance and follow it like bread crumbs out of the building if it goes dark. Therefore, emergency lighting needs to be in all rooms and hallways where people might be when the lights go out.

The UL 924 standards dictate that emergency exit signs should be visible from a minimum of 100 feet away. They should be hung at a minimum of 6 feet and the letters should be at least 8 inches tall. Finally, to be approved by UL 924, exit signs must use either red or green lighting.

Workers should test this as they’re installing emergency exit lights. Double-check for blind spots before finishing this job. Walk around the place with the main lights off.

These lights should be placed at every exit to interior rooms and exterior exits.


The main lights in a building usually go out because of an emergency such as a fire. If this happens, then everyone inside the building needs to get out safely.

For this reason, all emergency lights need to operate on battery power if the main power to the building goes out. They also need to stay on long enough for everyone inside of the building to get out. In a large building such as a school or a hospital, it might take some time to get everyone outside and accounted for.

UL 924 requires that all emergency lights need to stay on for a minimum of ninety minutes. That’s an hour and a half from the time the power goes out for everyone to exit the building and achieve a minimum safe distance. This should also be enough time for first responders to arrive and assist with evacuations.


The materials that your emergency lights and exit signs are also regulated by UL. The last thing you want is for your emergency lights to fail during a fire because they couldn’t handle the heat and melted. The material should be durable and not melt or fuel any fires that might happen.

UL 924 tests all kinds of plastics that manufacturers might use to make emergency lighting and signage both in a ceiling and wall set. UL recommends one of six different ABS thermoplastics. These are:

  • 5VA
  • 5VB
  • V-O
  • V-1
  • V-2
  • HB

When you’re ordering emergency lights for your building, check the materials list. If any of these are listed, then they should be safe to use. If the materials aren’t listed or you don’t see one of these on it, then you should keep looking.

Otherwise, you could risk a massive accident happening in your building because of bad emergency lighting.


Finally, just because the emergency lighting is there, doesn’t mean that your work is done. If an emergency happens, then you want to make sure that your safety precautions will work.

Do the lights have enough battery left to last 90 minutes? Will the lights come on when the main power is interrupted?

To that end, it’s important to perform both monthly and annual tests on all of your emergency lights.

Once a month, go around to all of the emergency lights in your building. You’ll see a button on all emergency lights that says “press to test.” Hold this down for 30 seconds to interrupt the main power source and test the light.

If it comes and stays on for the full 30 seconds, then that light is fine. Otherwise, the emergency light battery or LED emergency light bulb might need replacing.

Once a year, when the building is empty, turn off the main power to the building completely for 90 minutes. Make sure that all lights stay on for the duration.

Get UL 924 Compliant Emergency Lighting Today

If you own a commercial building, then you need emergency lighting. It keeps everyone safe when there’s a power outage and everyone inside needs to evacuate. Following UL 924 guidelines ensures that you have reliable and OSHA-compliant emergency lights in your building.

Furthermore, the best place to get emergency lighting is right here at Lite Lume. We sell sturdy and reliable emergency lighting and make sure your building complies with UL 924. It’s the best way to keep your building and everyone in it safe.

Contact us today and see how we can help you with emergency lighting.

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