Graphic Products Whitepaper Sheds Light on Photoluminescent Safety Signs and Labels

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NFPA code changes ensure photoluminescent marking for exit stair pathways. To support these changes, Graphic Products, Inc has created a Guide to Signs and Path Markings.

Studies of the 9/11 World Trade Center events prompted New York, Connecticut and California municipalities to require photoluminescent markings in their commercial buildings to aid in emergency evacuations. More recently, NFPA code changes ensure photoluminescent marking for exit stair pathways. To support these changes, Graphic Products, Inc. has released an illustrated, easy-to-understand 12 page white paper, “Introduction to Photoluminescent Labels, Signs & Path Markings” for facility managers and contractors. Created to help keep facilities safe and compliant with local, state, national, and international regulations, this guide is available free from Graphic Products.

What does photoluminescent technology provide? A way to clearly mark exit pathways and provide emergency information that will be visible in smoky conditions and when lights fail. Since no power is required, photoluminescent labels and signs provide a reliable and safe approach to identify hazards, provide directions and display critical information during an emergency.

How does it work?

Technology involves mixing light-storing crystals into labeling materials. Strontium oxide aluminate crystals provide a stronger light and last longer than zinc sulfide crystals, which are used in glow in the dark toys.

Three key factors impact the strength and duration of the luminance:

  •     The type of light. Fluorescent and halogen lights charge more effectively than incandescent light. Although sunlight is also effective, UV rays deteriorate these signs and labels.
  •     Light intensity. The greater the intensity, the faster the charging rate.
  •     Illumination charge time. Typical recharge times range from 30-60 minutes.

Emergency photoluminescent applications include:

  •     Door frames
  •     Hallways/pathways
  •     Stairways and handrails
  •     Phones
  •     Windows
  •     Elevators
  •     Fire extinguishers
  •     First aid kits
  •     Flashlights
  •     Light switches
  •     All buildings covered by NFPA 101 Life Safety Code Section

The guide also includes codes and standards from the International Building Code, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), Underwriters Laboratories, the California Building Code, New York City (post 9/11) and Connecticut codes.

Graphic Products, Inc. has also released several practical whitepapers and best practices guides, including:

DuraLabel printers and supplies are manufactured and distributed by Graphic Products, providing visual communications resources since 1970. DuraLabel offers more than 50 application-specific supplies and offers same-day shipping to meet just-in-time delivery requirements. For more information, visit, call 800-788-5572 or email jarubinger(at)graphicproducts(dot)com. To order the free guide, visit:

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Jack Rubinger
Graphic Products, Inc.
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