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Emergency Lighting and Beacons

Emergency Lighting Requirements in Commercial Buildings

When a power outage or other emergency occurs in your building, it is important that you have emergency lighting. Emergency lighting is one of the most critical safety features in your buildings and facilities. Protect your employees and customers by illuminating their safe passage in the event of a fire, power outage, or any other emergency.

Emergency egress lighting along the paths that lead out of your building prevents your employees and customers from panicking in the dark during evacuation.

Given that emergency lighting is critical to life safety, officials demand strict compliance in how your system is designed and installed. Possessing a clear understanding of local code requirements for emergency lighting for your business helps you to avoid costly mistakes.

At MCA, we will help your business comply with all the codes that mandate certain requirements in emergency lighting.

Emergency Lighting Requirements

When you need to design, install, or maintain emergency lighting for your building, you want an advocate like MCA with experience in working with your AHJ to remain compliant with international, federal, state, and local codes to ensure your facilities never lose their certificate of occupancy due to non-compliance.


NFPA Codes

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has several codes related to emergency lighting requirements.  Specifically, NFPA 101 requires emergency lighting at all exit accesses, exits, and exit discharges in your building and NFPA 110 requires that lighting utilize batteries as a backup power source should your electricity fail during an emergency event.

IBC Requirements

Additionally, the International Building Code  offers guidelines for emergency lighting mandates in areas beyond exits. The IBC specifies that buildings must have emergency lighting in several different locations throughout your facility vital to safety like electrical rooms, fire command centers, fire pump rooms, and generator rooms.

Emergency Lighting Solutions from MCA

Whelen VisuAlert™

Whelen VisuAlert™

Enhance your Whelen Voice and Siren Mass Notification System with an optional visual component. Whelen 2900 & OA Series sirens can be upgraded to include visual cues, helping alert the hearing impaired, and providing additional attention grabbing cues for everyone else. 

Ideal for educational campuses and coastal communities, the VisuAlert option provides a ring of Whelen Super-LED® M6 lights mounted under WPS2900 siren systems. VisuAlert will illuminate with a designed flash pattern when the siren is activated.

Lighted Exit Signs

Regardless of the size of your facility, businesses need to invest in exit signs. You are required by law to place exit signs above the doorways in commercial and public buildings.

In the event of a power outage, fire, or other emergency, lighted exit signs serve as beacons to guide your customers and employees from your building.

While MCA can offer specific guidance on the lighted exit signs your business needs based on state and local law, as a general rule of thumb, these signs should offer automatic turn-on during power outages, illuminate at a distance a foot above their position on the wall, and provide at least a foot-candle of light.

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Emergency Pathway Lights

After exit lights, pathway lights are essential for many buildings. Emergency pathway lights illuminate the passages that lead the way to your exits and safety.

These are particularly important in larger facilities where the exits might be spread out and far away. Emergency pathway lights are critical for buildings with sizable floorspace.

Pathway lights often function as spotlights and are mounted to the wall. Whether or not pathway lights are mandated by law depends upon your building’s size, function, and local codes. But beyond complying with the law, emergency pathway lights ensure the safety of your building’s occupants.

Emergency Step Lighting

If your building has stairs, you will want to light them properly in the case of a power outage or other emergency situation.

Step lights (whether light rail ropes or lights placed directly on the steps of staircases) protect your customers and employees from injury during an emergency.

Step lights can be designed to automatically go on during a power outage. While this may seem an expensive addition for some business owners, it saves your business in liability cost in the long run. When you spend the time to install the proper emergency lighting equipment, your business will benefit from both a safety and financial perspective.

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Flashing fire alarm


MCA specializes in beacons for a variety of business environments and public settings to alert and inform your customers, your employees, and community of critical incidents.

Emergency lighting beacons send a non-verbal message to your people, letting them know how to respond in the case of an hazardous event.

When choosing emergency lighting or mass notification beacons for your facilities, you should consider the size of the domes you will need on your beacons, mounting options, the colors you should use to indicate particular kinds of events and emergencies, among other important factors.

Industries Our Emergency Lighting Solutions Serve

Construction Solutions


When you’re designing a new building or facility, implementing an emergency lighting system during construction saves you money, as well as the hassle of dealing with inspectors down the road.

MCA works with general contractors and subcontractors to ensure that your construction project successfully meets IBC and NFPA guidelines when it comes to a building’s safety features.

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If you own and operate a manufacturing plant or facility, you want to invest in emergency lighting beacons for your employees. Communicate non-verbally with your workforce above noisy machines.

Lighting beacons of different types and colors can send a variety of important messages to your employees. From evacuation notices to machine breakdowns, lighting beacons allow you to automatically and efficiently “speak” to your workforce.

Public Safety

Lighting beacons play a critically important role among the devices that public safety and emergency management agencies use to alert the community of potential hazards nearby. You need to choose the right beacons to send the appropriate message.

MCA has the expertise and experience to determine how many beacons you will need to maximize cost savings.


Healthcare facilities need to clear a high bar when it comes to a number of building codes and guidelines. Emergency lighting in the case of a power outage, fire, or other emergency is no exception.

NFPA 99 lays out the compliance guidelines for buildings in the healthcare industry. MCA has years of experience helping building managers, administrators, and healthcare executives better protect their patients, doctors, and staff.

Hotel guest on cell phone


Whether you run a hotel, resort, or theme park, keeping your guests and employees safe in the event of an emergency is one of your most important tasks. Ensure all the exits in your venue are well-marked and illuminated.

MCA has a number of emergency lighting solutions to help guests in your venue quickly and easily find the exits in the event of an emergency. We will walk through your building or venue and identify any areas of improvement and concern.

Request a Free Consultation

MCA provides service every step of the way—from device and software selection to the installation and continued maintenance of your alerting systems.

Partner with MCA as your turn-key provider of mass notification solutions to ensure staff, visitors, and other key stakeholders receive clear and concise emergency alerts in real-time.

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