PSPA TIMELINE

1980

Electrically powered pathway marking required on commercial aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

1984

Haunted House fire at Great Adventure Amusement Park killed eight. The Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) was subsequently modified to require directional exit marking in special amusement buildings.

1987

An analysis of The Herald of Free Enterprise disaster in March 1987 when the Townsend Thoresen car ferry left her berth at Zeebrugge, Belgium, with her bow doors open showed that the resulting influx of water led to the total failure of main and emergency power leaving the ship in total darkness. This allowed photoluminescent manufacturers to promote the virtues of their products as an alternative to electrical systems.

1988

An explosion on Piper Alpha in July 1988 killed 167 men and completely destroyed the sea oil production platform. In the aftermath it was concluded that the safety procedures had not been good paving the way for the use of Safety Way Guidance Systems in the UK.

1990

Scandinavian Star cruise ship fire killed 158. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) passed a law in 1993 requiring pathway marking on all cruise ships and ferries by October 1997.

1991

The Photoluminescent Safety Products Association (PSPA) was formed by four companies whose main aim was to develop the market for photoluminescent products in a carefully considered manner.

1993

Bombing of World Trade Centre killed six and injured more than 1,000. The bomb knocks out normal and emergency lighting, greatly complicating egress. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey subsequently installed photoluminescent pathway marking in the stair.

1996

The Health and Safety (Safety Signs & Signals) Regulations came into force, making it a legal requirement for all safety signs in the EU to have a graphical symbol. The purpose of the regulation was to reduce the number of text only signs and encourage standardisation of safety signs throughout the E.C. as well as to give universal meanings to safety signs regardless of linguistic or cultural variations.

1997

  • With the emergence of a brighter pigment, the FAA allowed the use of photoluminescent pathway marking in addition to electrically powered systems on commercial aircraft.
  • PSPA became a company limited by guarantee.

1999

  • Following a deadly train wreck, the American Public Transit Association released guidelines for installing pathway marking on commuter trains by 2006.
  • Canadian National Research Council released a study comparing evacuation of a high-rise building using photoluminescent pathway marking in some stairwells and traditional emergency lighting in others. Study found that occupant egress speeds are comparable even though occupants were unfamiliar with pathway marking technology.
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