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All Things have a team of ICEL trained service engineers to assist in the service and repair of your emergency lighting systems.
ICEL trained engineers will ensure that your emergency lighting system complies with current British Standards (Bs5266 Pt1, 7&8).

The reliability of any emergency lighting system is paramount to its usefulness and the safety of your staff in a multitude of situations.

On completion of an inspection and test, an emergency lighting test certificate will be issued to the responsible person of the premises. The enforcing authority may require a copy of this certificate.

Introduction to Emergency Lighting

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) 2005, which came into force in October 2006, charges the responsible person in control of non-domestic premises and the common areas of a House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) with the safety of everyone in the building, whether working, visiting or living there. This duty of care includes the provision of emergency lighting. Article 14 (2) (h) of the RRFSO states:
"Emergency routes and exits requiring illumination must be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting".
Emergency lighting is part of the fire safety provision of a building and cannot be ignored: as noted by the Industry Committee for Emergency Lighting (ICEL), which is the foremost UK authority on emergency lighting and provides third party accreditation for components and products for emergency light fittings under the auspices of the Lighting Industry Association (LIA):

"The legal requirement is that non-domestic buildings must be safe at all times, even if mains power failure occurs. Therefore, nearly all such buildings must have emergency lighting fitted".

What is emergency lighting?

The BSi guide to emergency lighting, referenced above, explains that: "For the purposes of the British and European standard BS EN 1838, 'emergency lighting' is the generic term for equipment that provides illumination in the event of failure of supply to the normal lighting"

(p. 1). There are two main types of emergency lighting: (i) emergency escape lighting; (ii) standby lighting

(p. 2). Emergency escape lighting is defined as "that part of emergency lighting that is provided to enable safe exit in the event of failure of the normal supply". Standby lighting is defined as "that part of the emergency lighting provided to enable normal activities to continue in the event of failure of the normal mains supply".
The guide further offers this important distinction between emergency escape lighting and standby lighting: while the former constitutes part of the fire protection of a building, the latter does not (unless it meets the same equipment design and installation requirements as emergency escape lighting systems). As such, from the point of view of fire safety provision,
emergency escape lighting is the significant type of emergency lighting, and will be the focus of the remainder of this article.

Emergency lighting systems: what is involved?

Following the fire risk assessment (FRA), which will surface the various issues that have to be addressed, the procedure in respect of emergency lighting will be:

  • Planning and design of the system
  • Positioning of emergency lighting luminaires (wall / ceiling mounted lights and signs)
  • Permanent installation of all fittings
  • Periodic testing / maintenance of the system

The guide further offers this important distinction between emergency escape lighting and standby lighting: while the former constitutes part of the fire protection of a building, the latter does not (unless it meets the same equipment design and installation requirements as emergency escape lighting systems). As such, from the point of view of fire safety provision, emergency escape lighting is the significant type of emergency lighting, and will be the focus of the remainder of this article.

Where is emergency lighting needed?

  • Each exit door
  • Escape routes
  • Intersection of corridors
  • Outside each final exit and on external escape routes
  • Emergency escape signs
  • Stairways so that each flight receives adequate light
  • Changes in floor level
  • Windowless rooms and toilet
  • accommodation exceeding 8m²
  • Fire-fighting equipment
  • Fire alarm call points
  • Equipment that would need to be shut down in an emergency
  • Lifts
  • Areas in premises greater than 60m²

 

It is not necessary to provide individual lights (luminaires) for each item above, but there should be a sufficient overall level of light to allow them to be visible and usable. The FPA handbook, referenced above, contains a useful table highlighting the pros and cons of slave versus self-contained luminaires (p 21):

 

Central power sourcesSelf-contained
AdvantagesDisadvantagesAdvantagesDisadvantages
Less expensiveSeparate wiringEase / speed of installationLimited lamp power
Long battery life if maintainedRegular battery maintenanceFlexible, extendibilityOperation limit to battery operation temperature
Few temperature effectsLoss when central system in fireNo battery room requiredShorter life batteries
Easier / automatic testingBattery cabinet often requiredNo regular battery maintenanceNot suited to harsh or hazardous environments
Real time monitoringLimited flexibilityNo loss of total systemCost of periodic testing greater

All the lamps will be lit under normal circumstances, but if the electricity supply should fail just the emergency lamp(s) will come on, powered by the battery.

Maintenance and testing of emergency escape lighting

Government guidelines (Fire safety risk assessment: offices and shops, p 101) state that all emergency escape lighting systems should be regularly tested and properly maintained to an appropriate standard (i.e. BS 5266 – Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises). This testing has traditionally been undertaken manually although, as noted above, emergency luminaires are available with a self-test facility. Depending on the type of installation, trained members of staff should be able to carry out most of the routine tests by themselves. As the test methods will vary, there may be some doubt, in which case it is recommended that advice is sought from the supplier or another competent person.

A typical test is via a key operated switch that is located either near the main fuse board or adjacent to relevant light switches. This is also known as a ‘secret key’ switch, as it designed to allow testing of emergency lights while preventing non-authorised operation of the test switch.

Testing would usually include the following:

    • A daily visual check of any central controls if a centrally powered system with slave luminaires is installed
    • A monthly function test by operating the test facility for a period sufficient to ensure that each emergency lamp illuminates
    • An annual full discharge test to ensure that the lamps are lit for the full discharge period
      (usually 3 hours) and that the batteries are re-charging

Particular care needs to be taken following a full discharge test. Batteries typically take 24 hours to re-charge and the premises should not be re-occupied until the emergency lighting system is fully functioning, unless alternative arrangements have been made. It is best practice to keep a record of all tests in the which you can download here fire safety logbook.