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Valleywide Focus

Emergency Lights in Buildings Ordered

November 05, 1994|HUGO MARTIN

The owners of residential buildings with more than five units will be required to install battery-powered emergency lights to help tenants get out during an emergency, the Los Angeles City Council decided Friday.

Councilman Joel Wachs, who proposed the new ordinance, said the power outages that followed the Northridge earthquake underscored the need for emergency lights to help tenants out of quake-damaged buildings.

Building officials said they don't know how many buildings would be affected by the ordinance but estimate at least 10,000 structures in the city would meet the law's criteria.

Each battery-powered light is expected to cost about $200 to purchase and install, officials said.

Under the ordinance, the owners of a typical building with 15 to 20 units is likely to spend $3,000 to $4,000 to install lights in building corridors and stairwells, according to a city report.

The owners of existing buildings will have up to five years to comply with the ordinance after they are notified by fire officials. New buildings must comply before they can be occupied.

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