IFC Approved Self Luminous Exit Sign

Don't Get Burned by the IFC!

There are almost too many documents out there to keep track of when it comes to self luminous exit signs. All of them have anonymous abbreviations like UL, NEC, NRC, NFPA, ICBO and BOCA. What does it all mean?


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However it is imperative to your company's tritium exit sign program to know a little bit about what these documents and how they relate to your facility. Two documents are especially important: the IBC International Building Code) and the IFC (International Fire Code).

If your building is being constructed, refer to the IBC. However, if your building has already completed construction and you are only looking to update the current SL signs, refer to the IFC.

What the International Fire Code Covers

This heavy document is filled with very detailed rules regarding fire prevention, installation, testing and maintenance of life-saving equipment. Many states refer to the IFC alone, while others have drafted their own codes based on the IFC.

Not sure if you live in a state that uses the International Fire Code? Contact us right now with your query or to request a quote. Feel free to call our exit sign experts at 800-379-1129 for the fastest response.

IFC Guidelines for a Self Luminous Exit Sign

Everything regarding SL, photoluminescent and any type of internally illuminated exit sign is covered in IFC Chapter 10: Means of Egress. It states that all buildings must provide a safe means of egress during emergencies and non-emergencies.

It is unlawful to change your building's structure in any way that will reduce the amount of exits required by the code.

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Certain Exceptions include:

  • Detached 1 and 2-family dwellings or townhouses
  • Not more than 3 stories above the finished floor
  • Any building covered by the International Residential Code

IFC-Approved Exit Signs

The IFC refers to the IBC for exit sign construction requirements.

All exit signs must:

  • Illuminate internally or externally
  • Stay lit 24/7 year-round
  • Meet all UL 924 guidelines
  • Be installed according to manufacturer's instructions

Self luminous exit sign fixtures, as you might already know, use no electricity whatsoever. They instead rely on naturally glowing tritium tubes that require no external power source. Most of the rules listed above only apply to electric units.

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