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FIR-2.02 - Requirement for Emergency Lighting

Administrative Rule Adopted by Portland Fire & Rescue Pursuant to Rule-Making Authority


A.    This policy is established January 10, 1991.
B.     The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the retroactive installation of emergency lighting in existing buildings.
C.     This policy applies to all inspections where Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) has authority.
D.    Previously, there were no retroactive requirements for the installation of emergency lighting systems in existing occupancies. The 2005 Portland Fire Code (PFC­) Section 1006 applies but is not retroactive.
The currently adopted codes that require emergency lighting are Title 26 of the Electrical Code and Section 1006 of the 2004 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC). These apply only to new construction, alterations or additions. See also Bureau of Development Services (BDS) Egress Lighting Program Guide.
PFC 102.1 indicates:
“The construction and design provisions of this code shall apply to:
1.      Structures, facilities and conditions arising after the adoption of this code.
2.      Existing structures, facilities and conditions not legally in existence at the time of adoption of this code.
3.      Existing structures, facilities and conditions when identified in specific sections of this code.
4.      Existing structures, facilities and conditions, which, in the opinion of the code official, constitute a distinct hazard to life and property.”
PFC Section 1026 addresses “Means of Egress for Existing Buildings” and contains the following exception:
Exception:Means of egress conforming to the requirements of the building code under which they were constructed shall be considered as complying means of egress if, in the opinion of the fire code official, they do not constitute a distinct hazard to life.”
PFC Section 1026.5 addresses “Illumination emergency power” and identifies the occupancy groups with specific limitations regarding the retroactive application.


1.      2004 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC).
2.      June 1, 1996 Egress Lighting Program Guide (see BDS website).
3.      2005 Portland Fire Code (PFC).


A.    This policy will establish a system of priorities to determine when a supervisor may invoke the general authority of PFC 102.1 to require emergency lighting in any occupancy.
1.      First priority: Public assemblies, institutions, office high-rise buildings, and residential occupancies (Occupancy Groups A, I, and R of the Building Code. Single-family dwellings and duplexes are exempt.)
2.      Second priority: All others
a.      Before any other occupancy will be required to retroactively provide emergency lighting, they must meet item “b” and at least one of the conditions listed in item “b”:
b.      Be in a buildingor a building with an egress path serving at least 100 occupants which is essentially without light and any one of the following:
i)       Have an exit path that is more than 400 feet of travel before reaching a corridor, exterior door, stairwell or other protected, rated escape path.
ii)      Have more than one change of direction to find a corridor, exterior door, stairwell, or protected, rated escape path.
iii)     Have more than one door to go through before reaching a corridor, exterior door, stairwell, or other protected, rated escape path.
iv)     Have corridors, stairwells or exit paths that are windowless or essentially without light in the event of power loss.
v)      Have changes of elevations in the exit path (stairs or ramps), which would tend to be a trip or fall hazard.
      Note: This policy is meant to clarify when an inspected occupancy is most suited to have retroactive requirements for emergency lighting applied. The final decision to apply retroactive requirements to a specific occupancy must be approved by an inspector's supervisor before it may be applied.
B.     The FMO Inspector shall cite the responsible party to "PROVIDE EMERGENCY LIGHTING UNDER BENEFIT OF PERMIT THROUGH THE BUREAU OF DEVELOPMENT SERVICES”. An ‘Alert Notification Folder’ will be set up in the BDS TRACS program via e-mail indicating the details of the hazard noted.
The Bureau of Development Services will ensure the electrical supply comes from a lighting circuit in the area where the emergency lighting is to be installed. If the emergency lights were plugged into an outlet circuit and the lighting circuit tripped, the emergency lighting unit would still be supplied by electricity and would not activate.

Originally adopted by Fire Marshal as Fire Prevention Division Policy Manual Document B-2, effective January 10, 1991.
Filed for inclusion in PPD June 13, 2003.
Revised rule adopted by Chief of Portland Fire & Rescue June 12, 2007.