We always practice evacuations while all the lights are on. But what if we had to evacuate during a blackout? Brady Product Expert Liz Gallagher has a safe, low cost solution

A safety evacuation plan, supported by regular evacuation drills, ensures you can get your employees out fast and safe during an incident. But when an entire office building or production plant goes dark, people often get scared and evacuation becomes much more difficult. Photoluminescent safety signage glows in the dark, and increases your chances to get everybody out fast, and without injuries.

Safety Way Guidance System

Photoluminescent materials are mentioned in the ISO 16069, ANSI and DIN 67510 regulations aimed at standardising a Safety Way Guidance System throughout the world. This system is meant to ensure the fastest evacuation possible under all circumstances. ISO 16069 contains general principles valid both for electrically powered and for photoluminescent components.

Photoluminescent safety signage has the added advantage that it does not need power. The signs charge themselves, using daylight or artificial light. During an evacuation in the dark, they will glow long after the last employee has left the building. Moreover, these signs do not impose extra costs for inspection and maintenance!

Choosing photolum classes

Various photoluminescent classes exist to give you a clear overview of the available photoluminescent quality you can order. The classes make it easier to compare and choose what you need. If you decide to use photolum in your Safety Way Guidance System, Brady can also help you choose.

Photoluminescent classes are based on their brightness after 10 and 60 minutes in the dark. Class A is the basic photolum material, glowing       23 mcd/m² after 10 minutes and            3 mcd/m² after an hour. Brady’s NiteGlo brand is a Class B photoluminescent offering 50 mcd/m² after 10 minutes and 7 mcd/m² after an hour. Our XtraGlo brand is a Class C photoluminescent material with 140 mcd/m² after 10 minutes and 20 mcd/m² after an hour in the dark, that’s bright enough to help guide firemen through your facility!

Best practice application

Well placed photoluminescent safety signage covers 3 heights in any hallway, production floor, open office or large area.

Floor signage, like photoluminescent tape, shows your employees the way out in case of a smoke build up, or fire. It is attached to the floor or on the wall no higher than 40cm. Floor signage will show your employees the quickest escape route, even if they have to bend down to avoid inhaling too much smoke. Brady recommends marking both sides of a hallway if it is wider than 2 metres.

Intermediate height signage is placed between 1.2m and 1.5m. These signs contain more information, such as a plan showing the nearest fire extinguisher or stairwell, the direction in which doors open or a first aid kit location. These photoluminescent signs and shapes are placed at a convenient height for people to read.

High signage, placed higher than 1.8m, makes sure your employees can spot the nearest emergency exit from a distance. It also helps to stay calm and focused because high signage remains visible, even when hundreds of employees are making for the nearest exit at the same time.

Next to the 3 heights, focus on clearly marking obstacles, or clear escape aisles, with photoluminescent tape, shapes or accessories. During an evacuation they will help employees navigate stairwells in the dark, avoid meeting rooms, desks or pillars in the middle of the office, or machinery in the production area.

Once you have planned your Safety Way Guidance System, chosen your photoluminescent class and used the best practice application, your office building or production plant will be much better equipped for a safe and fast evacuation of all employees during a blackout.


E: asktheexpert@bradycorp.com