Facility Management - Photoluminescent Signage


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Power failures can wreak havoc on a facility. “Backup generators fail 20 to 30 percent of the time,” found Arshad Mansoor, senior vice president for R&D at the Electric Power Research Institute. This is mostly because generators are not properly maintained or used.

“It’s maintenance related,” says Dan Zimmerle, assistant research professor at Colorado State University. “For instance, if you don’t burn diesel fuel sitting in the tank, it will start to degrade and clog the fuel filters. Things that don’t get used tend to fail.”

LinkedIn’s Facilities Management Group (68,000+ members) recently asked the question “What are the most common diesel generator failures that you have come across?”  There were close to 200 responses that stated or implied 50 different reasons. Here they are:

Top 5 (referenced most)

  1. Preventative Maintenance Poor or Non-Existent
  2. Batteries Low or Dead
  3. Load Bank Test Not Done (some recommend 2 times a year)
  4. Remote Monitoring Non-Existent
  5. Routine Inspection/Check Not Done Regularly

Management Specific (alphabetical order)

  1. Facilities Management Poor/Non-Effective
  2. Human Error
  3. Maintenance/Service Records Poor or Non-existent
  4. Neglect
  5. NFPA 110, Chapter 8, 2013 edition Procedures Not Followed
  6. Plan Preventative Maintenance (PPM) or Maintenance Program is Poor or Non-existent
  7. Routine Inspection/Check Logging Poor or Non-existent
  8. Routine Inspection/Check Not Done Daily
  9. Routine Inspection/Check Not Done Thoroughly Every Time
  10. Routine Inspection/Check Procedure Poor or Non-existent
  11. Routine Inspection/Check Records Poor or Non-existent
  12. Service Contractor Not Competent
  13. Service Techs/Engineers Not Rotated Regularly
  14. Service Techs/Engineers Poor/Not Effective
  15. Shortcut Repairs to Reduce Spending
  16. Surprise Audits Non-Existent
  17. Training Poor or Non-Existent

Powered Exit Signs

Equipment Specific (alphabetical order)

  1. Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) Exercising Not Done
  2. Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) Failure
  3. Batteries Too Hot
  4. Battery Charger Broken
  5. Battery Charger Fuses Blown
  6. Battery Contacts Corroded
  7. Battery Life Ended
  8. Bird Nests & Mud Daubers Clogging Air Intakes and Vents
  9. Block Heater Broken
  10. Coolant Level Low
  11. Drive Belt Broken
  12. Exercising Not Done or Auto Exercising Not Working
  13. Fuel Dirty
  14. Fuel Filters Blocked/Plugged
  15. Fuel Line Broken
  16. Fuel of Wrong Type Accidentally Used
  17. Fuel Polishing/Cleaning Not Done
  18. Fuel Stored Too Long
  19. Fuel Tank Low or Empty
  20. Fuel Testing/Checking Not Done
  21. Full Building Shutdown Tests Not Done
  22. Hose Broken
  23. Moisture in Fuel (common in humid and rainy areas, and situations susceptible to condensation)
  24. Oil Changes Not Done Per Manufacturer’s Recommendations
  25. Sump Heater Broken
  26. Water Filter In Diesel Fuel Lines Not Changed Regularly (some recommend every 6 months)
  27. Water Filter In Diesel Fuel Lines None Existent (see Moisture In Fuel)
  28. Water Heater Element Is Not Adequate (prevents generator won’t start in cold climate)

Battery-powered lighting and egress systems are not only inherently unreliable, but it is also very time-consuming and expensive to maintain them. Typical testing for just 500 electric exit signs can run between $10,000 and $20,000 per year.

Add the costs of energy usage, replacement batteries, and bulbs, in addition to labor costs, and the expenses just keep piling up. As a result, proper maintenance and inspections do not get completed.

An independent test was recently completed at several randomly selected hotels. Out of 169 fixtures tested for 30 seconds, a whopping 46 of them – or 27 percent – failed the test. The bottom line is anything with batteries or electricity will fail when you need it most.

However, there is a more effective and energy- efficient solution with zero maintenance costs – photoluminescence safety and egress systems.


Why Integrate Photoluminescence Into Your Egress Systems?

Despite meeting local codes, most buildings and structures have insufficient emergency lighting.  Complete Threat Preparedness consistently recommends the implementation of floor-level and low-level photoluminescent egress signage.  During an emergency, most people instinctually drop to the ground, making low-level signage life-saving.  Smoke and other conditions cause electrically-dependent emergency signage to be frequently obscured. Backup electrical systems can fail during an emergency situation due to water or heat damage.  During some situations (such as the 9/11 Pentagon attack), backup power is actually intentionally disabled by first responders, in order to prevent firefighters and others from being electrocuted, or to provide a tactical advantage for law enforcement.

Photoluminescent egress products don’t rely on external power.  They can provide reliable life-saving exit guidance in any conditions. Additionally, photoluminescent products are maintenance free and long lasting, eliminating the operational costs of electrically dependent signage.  Using photoluminescent signage is safer, more effective, and saves CTP clients significant energy costs every year.

What Can Photoluminecent EXIT Signs Do For You?

  • Maintenance-Free
    No batteries, light bulbs, electricity, or testing
  • LEED Credits
    LumAware EXIT signs qualify for 3 different LEED credits: EA, MR, and ID
  • Significant Cost Savings
    Over electric EXIT signs
  • 25 Year Warranty
    Every LumAware has a 25-year warranty
  • Recharged Indefinitely
    With as little as 5-foot candles of ambient light, which is always available where egress lighting is required
  • Exceptional Customer Service
    Certified fire/building inspectors who are all available to personally assist in answering any questions or concerns with replacing traditional signs with LumAware

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