Emergency lighting is designed to provide illumination in the event of a mains power failure. It provides an important safety feature in emergency situations, such as if fire breaks out, making it much easier for people to safely evacuate.
In the UK it is compulsory for many businesses and organisations to provide emergency lighting as part of their fire safety systems. As a result, most new buildings will have it installed as standard, but older premises may need their fire systems upgraded to comply with current requirements.
Legally, emergency lighting must conform to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and any devices used must meet BS 5266-1:2011 standards. These are designed to ensure the equipment not only facilitates safe evacuation of a building, but also enables the location and use of manual fire alarm call points and fire-fighting equipment, such as extinguishers, while reducing the risk of panic which can quickly escalate the level of danger in a crisis.
Organisations required by law to provide emergency lighting include hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, clubs, offices, museums, shops, schools and colleges.
Types of Emergency Lighting
Escape route lighting – This provides clear illumination for emergency exits and the routes to them. This will typically involve lighting above doorways and stair wells or set into steps and floors along escape routes.
Open area lighting – This covers the spaces where people are living or working and helps to keep people calm in the event of a power failure allowing them to safely identify the best route out of the building.
High risk task lighting – This is vital for anyone working with potentially dangerous equipment or carrying out high risk processes. It allows them to complete a safe shut down of their equipment or exit the high risk area and so prevents the introduction of secondary risk factors.
Designed to automatically come on when a power failure occurs, standby lighting is intended for non-emergency situations, allowing normal operations to continue until mains power can be restored. Standby lighting in not a legal requirement, but can be an advantage in certain circumstances, such as in rural areas where the power supply is not always reliable.
Like all fire safety systems, emergency lighting is only effective if properly maintained. It is important to schedule regular testing and maintenance of your equipment to ensure that you are providing a safe environment and complying with the law. The responsibility for this lies with your building’s designated Responsible Person.
BWS Standfast can provide a complete solution for all your emergency lighting needs. We will carry out an assessment to determine what equipment you need to be legally compliant as well as matching any other requirements you might have. We can then carry out a complete installation as well as providing ongoing testing, maintenance and repairs for all your fire safety systems.