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Permalight® at the World Trade Center

Permalight® at the World Trade Center New York – Then and now

Following the February 26, 1993 terrorist bomb attack that caused an explosion at New York’s World Trade Center high rise buildings, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, owners of the World Trade Center, decided to install Permalight® photoluminescent safety markings in their facilities.

In 1994, the Permalight® photoluminescent safety marking system was installed on the steps, landings and handrail top bars inside the WTC emergency staircases.

Permalight® Photoluminescent Markings on steps, landings and handrails (1994)
Permalight® Photoluminescent Markings on steps, landings and handrails (1994)
Each Step and Landing clearly marked with Permalight® Photoluminescent Markings
Each Step and Landing clearly marked with Permalight® Photoluminescent Markings

Permalight® Photoluminescent Markings on steps, landings and handrails
Photoluminescent Step, Landing and Handrail markings by Permalight®
After 1 year of active staircase use, this photo taken in 1995
After 1 year of active staircase use, this photo taken in 1995

Seven years later, during the 9/11/2001 World Trade Center New York City evacuation, 33% of survivors in WTC Tower I and 17% of survivors in WTC Tower II were aided by the Permaligth® photoluminescent safety markings on the steps, landings and handrails: see NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) studies at nist.gov.

Based on the NIST findings, the New York City Department of Buildings developed a range of improvements, enforced by Local Law 26 of 2004, which included photoluminescent exit path markings. The City of New York published Reference Standard RS6-1 with detailed specifics as supporting document.

Permalight® products earned several MEA (Material and Equipment Acceptance) Certifications from the NYC Department of Buildings, all for ready-made photoluminescent signs and markings:

Reference Standard RS6-1 only required 5 mandatory tests. Permalight® MEA-certified products successfully passed six performance tests plus the one optional test: UV-degradation. This further supported the superior material performance of ready-made Permalight® photoluminescent exit path markings.

In 2014, Permalight® ready-made photoluminescent exit path markings (wall-mounted perimeter demarcation lines made from Aluminum Strips, Aluminum Signage and plastic Handrail Markings) were installed inside One World Trade Center New York City, again improving life safety inside the WTC emergency staircases. Permalight® – a World Trade Center New York City trusted Technology!

Photoluminescent Handrail Marking in 2014
Photoluminescent Handrail Marking in 2014
Photoluminescent Obstacle Marking in 2014
Photoluminescent Obstacle Marking in 2014



Appropriate Product Use

Many factors beyond American Permalight®'s control and uniquely within a user's knowledge and control can affect the use, application and performance of a Permalight® product in a particular application. Given the variety of factors that can affect the use and performance of a Permalight® product, each user is solely responsible for evaluating the product and determining whether it is suitable for a user's method of application and fit for a particular purpose. Questions? Contact us.

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