Permaglow ADA Sign in Dark Room

Why You Need Photoluminescent Signage & Markings


Is your building equipped with photoluminescent signage and markings? These high-performance, glow-in-the-dark markings can be found on handrails, along the front edges of steps, baseboards, and walls. And, while there are federal and local ordinances for luminous markings to support egress signage, some architects, designers, sign fabricators, and building inspectors inadvertently overlook this area.

Permaglow ADA Sign in staircaseIt may seem like the smallest addition in the development process, but it can be a lifesaver in the case of emergencies. After the events of September 11, 2001, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) interviewed World Trade Center survivors. From the interviews, the NIST discovered that a third of those in Tower 1 and 17-percent in Tower 2 were aided by the photoluminescent markings in the stairways, leading to new national requirements for luminous egress pathway markings. These new requirements have created an opportunity for sign fabricators to provide readily available solutions.

Photoluminescent signage and markings are imperative for all exit enclosures on steps, landings, handrails, safe movement areas, obstacles, and doors leading out of exit enclosures. This includes but is not limited to new construction and major renovations for buildings that are six stories and taller, including hotels, motels, office buildings, and healthcare facilities. Codes vary nationwide with specific compliance requirements, so get familiar with your local codes as these regulations are receiving more attention from local and state building inspectors and fire code officials.

Another requirement for photoluminescent egress path markings is for high-rise building emergency staircases. It specifies luminous floor-level identification signs of at least 12×18 inches. Additionally, many state codes require the floor number to be denoted with raised characters with Braille underneath. Some jurisdictions take it a step further by requiring the entire staircase identification sign to use all raised text with Braille underneath. New York, for example, has Local Law 141 that requires clear routes of exit to provide emergency lighting and directional signs. The codes specify UL 1994 standard with detailed requirements for photoluminescent egress path marking systems to have an illumination source for anticipated visibility. The source does not need to be a part of the emergency lighting system but must be active at all times of building occupancy.

Permaglow ADA Sign on table with braille details

For signage providers, photoluminescent signs and markings are an ideal companion to other interior signage, including the photopolymer ADA-compliant signs you may already offer. When a signage provider is looking through Project Specifications and SEARCHES for Interior Signage in Division 10, also look for ‘Photoluminescent’ which is typically covered right after Interior Signage. You typically find the ‘Photoluminescent’ material needs in Div. 10 1443 or Div. 10 4500. This is another opportunity for your company to bid on Photoluminescent Signage.

Permaglow ADA Sign in on wall front pictureNova Polymers is a prime source for attractive, durable, bright, cost-effective, UL1994-Listed photoluminescent photopolymer that addresses nationwide needs. NovAcryl 250 PermaGlow materials absorb natural or artificial ambient light during the day and provide photoluminescent emergency guidance when the lights go out, providing photoluminescence for up to 90 minutes. Both are UL1994-listed in nationwide Building-Code compliance.

Photoluminescent solutions can be offered for handrail markings, metal strips for steps, high-performance glow-in-the-dark signs, denote doorways, and ‘man running’ exit signs. The appropriate materials may vary by application as there are no one-size-fits-all options, but your business can easily provide solutions for any type of building.

So, before you end the development process, check one last time if photoluminescent signage and markings are installed as these additions are imperative to public safety.

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