What is Jalite?
During fire or emergency situations there is often decreased visibility. This could be caused by power loss, increased dust in the air, heavy smoke, or a mix of all three. This causes a disorienting effect to evacuees, making it harder for them to assess the situation and evacuate safely.
In 1983, Jalite was established to develop photoluminescent materials specifically for these situations and other life safety applications.
How does it work?
To understand how and why Jalite works as a life-saving product, it’s important to understand how photoluminescence works.
luminescence induced by the absorption of infrared radiation, visible light, or ultraviolet radiation. Jalite’s ability to emit light during times of low visibility makes it perfect for use in the fire safety industry and it is currently deployed in a number of life-saving areas: -
Safety Signage – Allows emergency exits and fire fighting equipment to be found during periods of low visibility or power loss.
This can include fire exit signs, fire extinguisher signs and fire action notices.
Means of Escape Signage – creates a complete ‘emergency way finding guidance system’ that can be followed to evacuate a building. It is available as a tape and paint for hard wearing areas.
Safety Clothing – Used to allow Fire Marshals, Fire Aiders and Incident Controllers to be found easily during an Emergency.
These are just a few of the ways it’s incorporated into lifesaving products.
Is Jalite/photoluminscence Required By Law?
Currently, there is no law that says that all fire and emergency signage must be made from photoluminescent material. However, legislation does state that:
‘signs should be legible at all material times (…). Any of the following methods are considered suitable (…), Self luminous signs requiring no external power source’. Make reference to BS5499 and BS EN 60598-2-22;1998+A2:2008
Whilst Jalite itself is not required by law, it does satisfy the law’s requirement for legibility at all material times.
Additionally, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states:
Signs or notices of the photo-luminescent type, i.e. where the active material making up the luminous parts of such signs or notices needs a period of exposure to light before they become visible in darkness (but get fainter with time), are not a substitute for appropriate emergency lighting and should only be used where other forms of emergency illumination are present.
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
Should All Signage Be Photoluminescent?
There is a good argument to be made that only essential and emergency signage should be photoluminescent. In the event of an emergency, it’s important that evacuees and emergency services are not confused. Photoluminescent signs should help those in an emergency evacuate the building quickly and efficiently; ensure that all non-essential signage does not distract from that purpose.