Battery Backup Emergency Lighting Laws

Public buildings are required by federal law to have emergency backup lights located at the exits and along main corridors or traffic areas. The lights react to a building’s power supply and turn on if the power is cut. These lighting systems are battery-operated and must be maintained. Not doing so can result in danger to the public and possible fines.


Emergency lights must be positioned along areas of a designated exit, including: hallways, stairs, escalators, the exit doors and any other area which may be cast into darkness by a power failure. The lights must be located so as to cover angles and intersections.


Emergency lighting systems are required to last a minimum of 1 1/2 hours. The lights must perform continuously or under repeated automatic activation without having to be reset. Lighting systems using rechargeable batteries are required to be maintained in the fully charged condition.

Exit Markings

Exits must be adequately marked to be easily identifiable and visible from any direction. Main doors are exempt from this regulation if the doors are obvious exits.

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