Closings & Delays across the Tennessee Valley

Emergent Lighting Systems Offers Illumination as Emergency Alerts for Schools and Businesses

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Recent headlines make one thing clear: safety in schools, workplaces, and hospitals require a great deal of attention. A Huntsville company has a bright way to keep people alert.

What looks like holiday lights might save a life. Emergent Lighting Systems (ELS) has St. John Paul II Catholic High School wired for instant emergency notification.

"The teachers have a mechanism that they can activate immediately," said ELS CEO Pam Peterson. Along with her husband, Peterson launched the program in 2007. Their daughter attended the school at the time. "Our system is comprised of several different alerts."

Lights throughout the building have color coordinated signals for  everything from blue: lockdowns, green: egress lighting directing you to exits, red: tornado warnings, amber: nearby severe weather, and white: power loss.

"Our staff has been properly trained on it, we test it from time to time," said Antonio Cook, the athletic director at the school. Cook says the program has proven successful through drills.

The system is so detailed it can identify which classroom set off an alert.

"We have the lights down low along the baseboard, so if there's smoke, you can crawl and follow those lights," said Peterson.

Just like an airplane shows you where to go, these lights direct students and staff to the nearest exit.

"They show you the way to safety, so that helps prevent that initial panic," said Peterson.

The lighting system reduces the time it takes to notify people nearby from minutes to seconds.

"It gives us a sense of security and peace of mind," said Cook. "As soon as teachers see this lighting, they stop class immediately."

Emergent Lighting Systems won a campus safety award for emergency notification. Peterson says it was an honor, but also a motivaional tool.

"It gives us further clarificiation that our system is needed in our schools and facilities."

Not only is the product efficient, but it's local. Everything is made in the United States, with most parts produced here in the Huntsville.