By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III has sought the passage of a measure that would mandate the installation of an improved emergency lighting system in all buildings and structures as part of fire safety regulations.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III
(SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES / MANILA BULLETIN)
Pimentel said it is high-time fire safety regulations imposed by authorities be further enhanced to help usher people out of buildings during emergencies.
In filing Senate Bill No. 1825, Pimentel said the size of fire exit signs should be made very visible, requiring these to be made of “luminous, glow-in-the-dark material and giving specifics for the emergency lights that surround a fire exit.”
“In many instances, the increased number of casualties during fire is due to people being unable to find the exits,” Pimentel said of the measure.
Under the bill, Pimentel proposed that the word “EXIT” shall be in plainly legible letters not less than 30 centimeters high, with the principal strokes of letters not less than 38 millimeters wide.
But more than the enhancements in “exit” signage, Pimentel also proposed the inclusion in the provision on fire safety construction, protective, and warning system the installation of emergency lighting system.
The bill aims to introduce an amendment in Section 7 (d) of RA 9514 or the “Revised Fire Code of the Philippines of 2008” requiring the emergency lighting in case of power failure to provide illumination automatically.
It should, likewise, provide illumination in cases involving other than supply problem by public utility such as opening of a circuit breaker or fuse or any manual act, including accidental opening of switch controlling normal lighting facilities.
“The emergency lighting system shall either be continuously in operation or shall be capable of repeated automatic operation without intervention,” the senator said.
“The emergency lighting system shall be capable of maintaining illumination in the event of failure of the normal lighting for a period of at least one and a half hours,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel stressed it is necessary and important that “all emergency lighting systems shall be properly maintained.”