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What’s The Deal With Self-Illuminating Signs?


As a leading provider of self-luminous exit signs, The Exit Store understands that the evolution of the exit sign has made them more customizable now than ever. You may be aware of self-illuminating exit signs or something called "tritium," but aren't quite sure what it means or if there are any benefits. We're to help clear some of that up for you! 

The primary purpose of self-illuminating exit signs is the same as your traditional ones: to provide people with clear direction to safety in the event of an emergency. But self-illuminating signs aren’t just a stylistic choice. Check out this infographic for four benefits of self-illuminating exit signs, and continue reading for a more in-depth look into how they may help your facility.

If exit signs glow in the dark, they often contain a radioactive gas called tritium. Tritium signs do not require electricity or batteries and can be used where it is challenging to install electric signs, like above doors. They serve an essential safety function by marking exits to be used during power outages and emergencies and pose little or no threat to public health and safety.

What Is Tritium?

Tritium is a form of hydrogen. In exit signs, tritium gas is contained in sealed glass tubes lined with a light-emitting compound. The tritium gives off low-energy radiation that causes the lining to glow. Tritium gas is odorless, colorless, and tasteless.

Detecting Tritium Exit Signs

There are a few ways to know whether an exit sign contains tritium. When the lights are off, tritium will make the word "exit" glow green or red. The sign should also have a warning label that mentions tritium, 3H or H-3, displays the three-bladed radiation warning symbol, and states "Caution — Radioactive Materials." If all four letters on the exit sign are fully illuminated, the sign is in proper working condition. If not, the sign might be damaged.

All sorts of facilities across the United States use tritium exit signs, including public and private office buildings, stores, theaters, schools, and churches.

For more information about how self-luminous exit signs can benefit your establishment, contact The Exit Store today!