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July 1, 2018

Emergency lighting is undergoing many changes. Some of the changes are driven by experience and others are driven by improved technology.

A Dept. of Commerce report and a Maryland Fire Protection Engineering study are two examples of how non-electrical lighting (Photoluminescent, aka glow-in-the-dark materials) are used to mark exit pathways:

Glow Lit and Dark

Following the 1993 bombing of the WTC several improvements were made to egress lighting by including battery operated emergency lighting and photoluminescent floor strips.

  1. Now the NFPA Life Safety Code and International Building Code have provisions for photoluminescent or self-luminous exit path markings. The significant difference here is that the LSC has provisions for this, but leaves it up to the occupancy chapters to mandate it and none do at this time. In the IBC, such marking is now required in exit stair enclosures and exit passageways in high-rise buildings that contain assembly, business, educational, institutional, mercantile and hotels. (See 403.5.5and 1024.)¹
  2.  Photoluminescent materials glow-in-the-dark because they store energy received from ultraviolet light emitted by the sun or by most artificial lights. The stored energy is then released as visible light in darkness.²

Photoluminescent materials may be molded into plastic or mixed into paint. They glow-in-the dark to highlight signage, stairs, walls or railings to mark exit paths.

Carbit has developed No. 377 Safety Marking Paint to meet the standards established by ANSI, ASTM and the NYC Code for photoluminescent paints. This paint is particularly useful in providing floor level luminous egress path markings, as specified in NFPA 101 and required in the model codes (IBC, IFC),and many local codes.

No. 377 Safety Marking Paint Features

  • Water based

  •  Easy to apply

  •  Non-flammable

  •  Economical

  •  Low VOC

  •  Interior and exterior use

  •  Low Odor

  •  Choice of colors

Safety Marking Photoluminescent Paint can be applied by brush, roller or sprayer. It must be applied to Carbit 377W1 White Primer or equivalent, to work properly. (See the Product Data Sheet for details – 377Y1 PDS )

Photoluminescent paints are more expensive than standard architectural paints, but a better value when compared to other lighting options. Carbit’s introductory price for one gallon of No. 377Y1 Water Base Safety Marking paint is $250 per gallon. One gallon will produce 550 lineal feet of a 4” wide stripe. Small samples are available for testing.

For more information contact Bob Lyons at

¹ “Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers”, NIST, U.S. Depart of Commerce, Chapter 7, p 164.

² “Means of Egress”, Maryland Online Master’s in Fire Protection Engineering, Jame K Lathrop and Clay Aler, Apr 1, 2011.


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