to main content Exit Signage - Internal Illumination | Ambulatory | Life Safety LS | The Joint Commission
Exit Signage - Internal Illumination

What are the requirements for photoluminescent Exit signs?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only

Where an exit sign is required, they may be either externally illuminated or internally illuminated.

Photoluminescent signs are a type of internally illuminated exit sign sometimes used to mark the means of egress, and as such, must meet certain criteria to ensure that they are reliable and readable by occupants of the facility.  Using photoluminescence, light is absorbed from the surroundings onto the sign surface, stored and then re-emitted, making the signs glow when the building is dark.  

NFPA 101 (2012 edition) The Life Safety Code, Section requires that "the face of a photoluminescent sign shall be continually illuminated while the building is occupied.  The illumination levels on the face of the photoluminescent sign shall be in accordance with its listing.  The charging illumination shall be a reliable light source, as determined by the authority having jurisdiction.  The charging light source, shall be of a type specified in the product markings." Per Section, internally illuminated signs shall be listed in accordance with ANSI/UL 924, Standard for Emergency Lighting and Power Equipment.

Some jurisdictions require photoluminescent egress path markers, typically in high-rise buildings.  It should be noted that these signs may not meet the requirements of exit signs and are used in addition to, but not in place of exit signs.  

Reference LS.02.01.20 EP38, EP40 
Manual: Ambulatory
Chapter: Life Safety LS
First published date: April 11, 2016 This Standards FAQ was first published on this date.
This page was last updated on October 27, 2021

If no, please comment on how we could improve this response.

If you have additional standards-related questions regarding this topic, please use the Standards Online Submission Form