Scope: Fire safety is a consideration given to many aspects of your daily life. Many of these aspects are inherent in the overall design and construction of your environment. This information discusses the fire safety issues related to exit signs and emergency lighting. The requirements discussed apply to new construction and, in the extent applicable, existing facilities. This information is based on the 2009 edition of the International Fire Code (IFC), the 2009 International Building Code (IBC) and the National Electrical Code (NEC).

Purpose: Fire safety awareness, preparation and prevention are your best defense against a fire. The information provided in this information packet is intended to improve your awareness of the fire safety features that you will encounter in various occupancies. Awareness of these features leads to identification when items may need fixing, maintenance, or corrective action.


  • The term “exit sign” shall mean those required signs that will continually indicate the path of exit travel within the means of an egress system.
  • The term “emergency lighting” shall mean egress lighting that is a battery-powered lighting device that is designed to switch on automatically in the even that a building loses power from its main supply

Exit Signs and Emergency Lighting

Exit signage and emergency lighting are critical items that may be required to be installed within your building. The proper type and placement of these features is a major factor when considering the building occupants life safety needs during emergency egress.

  • The International Fire Code (IFC) Chapter 10 – Means of Egress deals with all aspects of exiting and emergency illumination in a building.

When exit signs are required, and/or when they are installed voluntarily, they shall be illuminated at all times; either internally or externally.

Frequently Asked Questions