National Electric Code


One of the most important documents you'll need before installing your emergency lighting and exit sign fixtures is the thousand-page document called the National Electric Code (NEC). All of the products we carry are NEC-compliant unless otherwise noted.

The NEC has been updated every three years and was first printed in 1897. Its purpose is to codify the requirements for the safe installation of electronic appliances including emergency lights and powered exit signs. It is part of the National Fire Code series and published by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).

The NEC is so widely used as a benchmark, it is approved as an American national standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and is also referred to as the ANSI/NFPA 70. However the NEC is not written law, though it is mandated by nearly every state and local law. Such principalities are free to amend the NEC to fit their requirements. States or cities can even abandon the NEC if they provide sufficient fire protection laws, though most prefer to modify it.

Can I Download the Current NEC for Free?

Unfortunately, both the hardcover and digital copy of the 2011 Edition NEC is only available through the NFPA. You will have to become a member, and the prices range between $90 and $120. They can be ordered here

See Our LED Emergency Lighting

You can find older documents floating online, but they are not to be trusted. Also, there are only a few chapters that are applicable for installing an emergency light or exit sign. Best of all: you can get the information from us by emailing the production staff. If you need a speedy response just call us at 800-607-5355.

National Electric Code Articles for Emergency Lighting

There are 2 main chapters that will apply to you. Specific details on each article can be found here on the site.

Article 500-504; 510-517

A big chunk of the NEC is devoted to hazardous areas that can become an ignition source for an explosion. The NEC breaks these volatile areas into a hierarchy of classcondition and nature of the hazards present.

See Our Wet Location Emergency Lighting .

Article 700

This section insures that your facility has an alternate source of power that must activate within 10 seconds of a power failure, and provide 90 minutes of illumination.

Article 708

Added to the 2008 edition, this article provides additional protection for emergency luminaries and cabling from the effects of fire and water damage, by considering the 100-year flood plain of the specific location.

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