Published 05.08.15

Are Your Emergency Exit Signs Compliant?

To avoid hefty fines for fire code violations, it is important that your facility has working emergency exit signage that is compliant with all applicable codes. Emergency exit lights should be checked on a monthly basis to ensure proper functionality. Learn how to reduce your risk of noncompliance.
  • Solutions
    • Fire Protection

When a fire occurs in an occupied building, it’s critical that everyone quickly finds the nearest safe exit. Most people will immediately look for the familiar “Exit” signs, which have become synonymous with safety in dangerous situations.

Lighted Exits & the Law

Functioning exit lights aren’t just a practical precaution—they’re required by law. According to NFPA Code 101, all occupied structures must have approved Exit signs that are illuminated and visible from all directions.

On July 9th, 2012, two property management companies and one restaurant owner were fined a total of $101,000 for fire code violations, including the lack of properly functioning emergency exit signage.

To avoid hefty fines or, worse, a life-threatening catastrophe, your facility must have working emergency exit signage that complies with all applicable codes. The majority of exit signs are lit by incandescent bulbs; and to ensure continuous lighting in the event of an emergency or power outage, the signs are typically internally wired into emergency backup power.

The Importance of Monthly Maintenance Checks

To ensure fire code compliance and the safety of your employees, emergency exit lights should be checked on a monthly basis by a licensed professional. A Cintas Fire Protection Technician will examine all units to verify the following:

Battery backup

The batteries in backup power sources will eventually run out, rendering your exit signs useless in the event of a power outage. The technician will test all backup batteries to ensure proper function.

Proper functioning

The AC ready light should be on and the lamps should be lit and connected to backup batteries. All bulbs will be checked for proper illumination.

Potential damage

The technician will check units for signs of damage and wear that may affect their function.


Exit signs must be in proper locations for prime visibility.

Annual Exit Light Testing

Once a year, the batteries in your emergency exit lights should undergo a 90-minute “burn test”, which simulates the unit being lit for 90 minutes on the backup power source. Our technicians can perform this annual test, while also replacing any and all defective units and parts. Along with your standard monthly maintenance checks, this proactive annual strategy will ensure that your facility is safe in the event of an emergency and fully compliant with NFPA code.


On-site assessment to discuss fire protection solutions for your business*

Customized service dates that fit your busy schedule*

Routine testing, inspection and maintenance of your fire protection equipment*

*Certain services may not be available in all markets