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Emergency Lighting

Emergency lighting switches on automatically when a building experiences a power outage. In addition to illuminated exit and emergency directional signs, products include automatic, standby, emergency, and auxiliary electric power equipment of all voltages that incorporate a charging means, a battery, and a switchover device to activate emergency and egress lighting when the power goes out.

Emergency lights and exit signs consist of a lighting source, a device to focus and intensify the light, a backup power supply, and a test function. The lights consist of clusters of high-intensity light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Battery backup ballasts may be installed to automatically switch into emergency mode. Modern fixtures may also include a small transformer that steps down the voltage from main current to the required low voltage.

Through NEMA, Members promote reasonable, repeatable, and unburdensome product test procedures and performance criteria that are required for regulatory bodies and certification labs.


  • Influences Emergency Lighting Standards development within the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), specifically IEC Technical Committee 34 and its subcommittees that develop international standards for lamps and related equipment
  • Provides technical knowledge and submits American National Standards for consideration as components or references of IEC Standards
  • Provides information and awareness of developments in the UL 924 Standard for Emergency Lighting and Power Equipment, CSA 860 Performance of internally lighted exit signs, the National Electrical Code® (NEC), and Life Safety Standards published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • Influences Means of Egress code requirements in NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, the International Building Code, and other codes
  • Tests exit sign performance


  • Lighting distributors and specifiers
  • New industrial, commercial, and high occupancy residential buildings (e.g., college dormitories, apartments, and hotels)
  • Retrofit installation in older buildings

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