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How Does an Emergency Shower Differ From a Regular Shower?

emergency showerWhen you need to install an emergency shower in your workplace, you can’t just pick one up at your local hardware store. An emergency shower is different from a regular shower in many important ways. Here are just a few:


When you need an emergency shower, you need to get to it FAST. That’s why regulations state that employees should be able to reach an emergency shower in 10 seconds or less. For the same reason, the shower must be on the same level as the hazard, well lit and clearly identified.

Weekly Maintenance

Emergency showers are subject to rigorous maintenance. While you can wait until your home shower breaks down before fixing it, emergency showers need to be activated weekly and inspected annually. You must also document these activities for compliance.

Flow Rate

While the flow rate of your home shower might be determined by your personal preference, the flow rate of an emergency shower is regulated. Flow rate is important because you want enough water at the right speed to properly flush the affected area.


The values on emergency showers are different from your home faucets. Once activated, valves need to stay open on their own and stay open until manually shut off. And they have to activate quickly—in one second or less.


You may find a cold or hot shower invigorating in the morning, but the temperature of your emergency shower needs to be within the range of 60-100 degrees Fahrenheit. Employees exposed to hazardous material should flush for 15 minutes to remove chemicals or contaminants. If the water is too cold or too hot, employees may not flush for the required period of time.

Spray Pattern

While you may prefer a rainfall or pulsating shower spray pattern at home, emergency showers must meet specified ANSI spray pattern standards, which include elements such as spray pattern diameter and position from flooring and obstructions. It also specifies positioning of the spray head.


While most of us require little training to use a regular shower (with the possible exception of hotel showers in exotic locales), employees must be trained in the use of emergency showers.

For more on standards and requirements for emergency showers, see our article “Emergency Shower Requirements.”

Emergency Showers at Select Safety Sales

At Select Safety Sales, we carry only ANSI compliant emergency showers. We have a variety of emergency showers available, including drench, heat trace, lab and combination emergency showers.

Need help selecting an emergency shower for your workplace? Talk to our safety experts at 866-864-3495 or sales@selectsafetysales.com. You can also reach us through online chat.

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