When I was in the Marines, we always talked about the back up to the back up. The Plan B (Plan C , Plan D…) after Plan A fails. However, what happens when that also fails. In emergency safety, just like in combat, you have to have continual redundancies and contingencies. Failing to plan is the same as planning to fail and in emergency safety, like combat, FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION

For most Facility Managers, the Plan B is the back-up generator. However, generators are not fail-safe. Several studies and articles have shown that they can fail as much as 30+% of the time. According to Arshad Mansoor, Senior Vice President for Research & Development with the Electric Power Research Institute he stated they won’t work 20%-to-30% of the time. Dan Zimmerle, assistant research professor at Colorado State University’s Engines and Energy Conversion laboratory states “It’s not an issue with the actual quality of the generators, It’s maintenance related. For instance, if you don’t burn deisel fuel sitting in the tank, it will start to degrade and clog the fuel filters. Things that don’t get used tend to fail.”

Accordington to the LinkedIn Facility Management Group (68,000 members) the top five reasons generators fail are:

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

Even if you do monthly preventitive maintenance on your generators and they are operational, they still are not a failsafe option to power emergency lighting. If the cables/lines are interrupted or damaged between the generator and the emergency lighting, they will be inoperable. Take for instance the recent blackout at the Atlanta Airport in December of 2017. Thhat balckout happened because the cables from the generator were comprimised by a fire.

See the following news articles about the black-out at Atlanta Airport:

ABC News- Atlanta Airport Blackout

CNN- Atlanta Airport Blackout

Not even a month later there was another situtaion when the back-up generator failed to power emergency lighting. This time it occurred during one of the largest conventions in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Show. It was the ultimate in irony that a show celebrating electronics was left in the dark due to a power failure.

CES Las Vegas Blackout

Although emergnecy generators and back up batteries are a good primary back-up, having a fail-safe alternative is vital. Non-electric photoluniescent technology is a perfect compliment to batteries and back-up generators.

LumAware Installed in an Emergency Stairwell

Solutions such as firefighter-founded LumAware® will illuminate the way to safety in the event of a power failure.

LumAware® has a full line of code compliant energy free emergency lighting options including EXIT signs that never need batteries, lightbulbs, electricity and maintenance. LumAware’s® stairwell solutions are UL tested to meet recent changes to the building code for stairwells that will illuminate the way to safety in the event of a power failure or emergency.

LumAware Solutions in Egress Stairwell

Learn more about LumAware’s line of energy-free code compliant solutions for stairwells and EXIT signs at: www.lumawaresafety.com or call 513–761–7614.

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