Hurricane Sandy - Self Luminous Exit Signs
Superstorm Sandy Overview
In October 2012, New York City was hit with a category 2 storm that flooded the streets and subways, causing over $50 billion in damage overall. It was only second to Hurricane Katrina of 2005.
Many emergency light fixtures and exit signs were damaged quickly by the flooding, but self luminous exit signs continued to work. When our production team visited the aftermath, we found most of our signs were still in use.
Sandy affected 24 states in the US, from Florida and Maine to Michigan and other western states. New York businesses suffered due to week-long power failures, a complete freeze on public transit as well as damaged infrastructure.
Why Were Self Luminous Exit Signs Sandy-Proof?
We have been in this business long enough to know the quality of emergency exit signs. It really does take a lot to disable these fixtures, especially outdoor rated ones. However, Sandy's 100 mile an hour winds actually dislodged many outdoor fixtures, reducing their effective range.
Others simply just couldn't handle the torment of her torrential downpour. Battery powered exit signs operated under these conditions, but only for a limited time. Since most power failures only end in an hour, these signs only had enough juice to last little more than 90 minutes.
However, those businesses we supplied with long-lasting self powered exit signs fared way better in the aftermath because their signs continued to maintain illumination for the entire week of city-wide power outages.
Self-luminous fixtures survived this superstorm due to the following features:
- Sturdy, corrosion-resistant aluminum mounting brackets
- Tritium tubes provide constant illumination for their entire 10, 15 or 20 year duration
- Simple design requires no electricity
- No wiring or batteries included
- Cast aluminum and polycarbonate construction is highly resistant to impact and water damage
When we toured different buildings in New York City, we observed a fallen exit sign in the Brooklyn subway station. It had actually been under water for close to a week. Since it was still glowing, we advised the subway maintenance person to drip-dry the unit and try re-mounting it. Today it is still working at full luminosity!