Features to Check in Emergency Lights for Commercial Establishments

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Emergency light kits are an essential feature for any residential or commercial establishment. They’re a life-saving tool in the event of power outages, natural disasters, or man-made hazards (e.g., fire). An alternative lighting system ensures a business remains operational, even if the main power supply is not working. When it comes to working environments, emergency lights are always a must to avoid panic, guide emergency responders, and provide immediate illumination.

It’s not surprising why homeowners, business owners, and government institutions invest in emergency lighting. It comes in different types and functionality to suit a particular purpose. Even vehicles come with their own LED lights to signal emergencies. One example is surface-mounted lights and LED light bars for large vehicles such as trucks.

In a diverse market filled with cheap products, shopping for the best emergency light is a difficult task. The challenge is even greater if you’re buying an emergency light for your commercial establishment. You have to ensure it’s durable enough to tackle unexpected power outages and other extreme conditions. For that reason, we’ll discuss the qualities to look for when buying an emergency lighting system for your business.

Battery type

Emergency light batteries have various chemical formulations, such as nickel-cadmium (NiCad), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), and sealed lead-acid (SLA). These formulations have specific charging strengths, weaknesses, and characteristics. Generally, it is recommended to pick the battery type to what the manufacturer initially installed. In other cases, NiMH and NiCad batteries are interchangeable.

SLA and NiCad are the most common type of batteries used in emergency lights. Among the two, SLA is one of the oldest rechargeable batteries. It contains lead alloy plates that are immersed in acid. Advances in technology led to the innovation of lead-acid batteries, which paved the way for fully-sealed units that no longer require water to retain acid levels.

Emergency light batteries are also available in standard types, such as AA, C, D-sized, and other custom packages with multiple cells within a single unit. But make sure to pick the correct battery package and terminal connection for emergency light fixtures.
A battery capacity is measured in two ways: milliamp-hours (mAH) or amp-hours (AH). Both of them represent how much energy a battery can deliver within a certain period. In most cases, several factors affect the power delivery of a battery.

Number of bulbs

Besides the batteries, the number of bulbs is another important consideration when buying an emergency light. You have to consider the space, foot candle, and the light spread’s directional reach. For maximum safety and effectiveness to be ensured, the light fixture should provide enough visibility to help building occupants find their way easily when navigating hallways and locating the exit.

The best way to achieve the right illumination level for a single fixture with directional heads is by placing several units around the space. Make sure to pick the correct foot candle for every square foot.

Lamp type

Lamp type also matters when buying emergency lights. The most acceptable option is incandescent bulbs since they’re not subjected to constant use. Otherwise, LED bulbs are a great choice if you want better visibility, vibrant illumination, and a flicker-free feature.


Your choice of mount depends on your chosen aesthetic and personal preference. Most emergency lights are either wall-mounted or recessed. Wall-mounted fixtures are easier to install and can be placed anywhere, while a recessed option has a cleaner look but requires a more careful installation to ensure correct placement.


Codes are essential when sourcing emergency lights. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) doesn’t have specific regulations regarding emergency lighting, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) addresses the subject in the Life Safety Code. It states NFPA’s set of requirements for emergency lighting concerning the foot candle, emergency light time, maximum illumination. Each rule comes with a specific code to ensure the lighting system will provide proper illumination in the event of a power outage.  


Finally, always make sure if the manufacturer offers a warranty for the emergency light fixture. You may also check if the seller provides a mechanism to avail the lamp battery once the current battery reaches its maximum lifespan.


Emergency lighting fixtures have only one basic purpose: to protect building occupants in times of power outages and unexpected disasters. While emergency lights come in different models, it’s important to pick the best one that suits the needs of your commercial establishment. In the end, you have to carefully evaluate all available options depending on specific requirements to get the best value for your money.

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