The introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 has brought together all the elements of fire safety under one roof.  Emergency lighting is primarily intended to provide sufficient illumination to enable people to see their way safely out of a building in cases of emergency and falls into five categories:

Routine Emergency Lighting Inspections

It is vital that emergency lighting comes on if the normal lighting fails. It needs to be sufficiently bright, illuminated for enough time, and the light sources so positioned that the occupants of a building can be evacuated safely in an emergency. BS 5266 Emergency Lighting, the Code of Practice for the emergency lighting of premises, offers simple guidance on the positioning of emergency luminaires, minimum height levels, acceptable glare levels, together with minimum routine testing schedules.

Emergency lighting requirements specify that luminaires are positioned:

  • Emergency Lighting InspectionsAlong escape routes
  • At every change in direction
  • Adjacent to any step or trip hazard
  • Over every flight of stairs so each tread receives direct light
  • Close to fire fighting equipment and call points
  • Close to any first aid points
  • Outside every final exit.

It is also recommended that some thought is given to providing external luminaires to guide evacuees away from the final exits. Additionally, BS 5266 puts additional emphasis on the importance of regular testing of emergency lighting equipment.

Testing Procedure Frequency

FTS Safety Solutions Ltd offer a full test and maintenance service on emergency lighting and all visits will be issued with a full maintenance test report. Below are the suggested routine testing frequencies:

Daily: Visually check that all maintained lamps are operating and that all system healthy indicators on central battery systems are illuminated. Check that any faults on the system are rectified and are then noted in the log book.

Monthly: Check all luminaires and other emergency lighting equipment is in good condition and all lamps and fitting diffusers are clean, undamaged and the lamps are not blackened. Briefly test all emergency lighting by simulating a failure of the normal mains supply. The test should not exceed a quarter of the equipment rated duration, check all fittings work correctly.
Upon restoring the mains supply check all mains healthy lamps are operating.

Six Monthly: Carry out testing as in the monthly test routine but test the fittings for one third of their rated duration.

Annually: A full system test should be conducted by a competent service engineer including a full rated duration test of the system.

A Guide to Emergency Lighting Terms

A list of the most commonly used terms and their definitions to help you understand the different types used in Emergency Lighting.

  • Non Maintained: This is a light fitting containing one or more lamps all of which operate from the emergency supply only following the mains failure.
  • Maintained: This is a light fitting containing one or more lamps all of which operate from both the normal and emergency supply at all times.
  • Combined/Sustained: This is a light containing two lamps or more, at least one of which is operated from the emergency supply. The remaining lamps are operated from the normal supply.
  • Self-Contained Emergency Light Fitting: This is a fitting that can be maintained / non-maintained / combined in which all of the operating components are within 1m of the housing.
  • Central Battery System: This is a system where the batteries for a number of fittings are housed in one location.
  • Slave Fitting: This is an emergency light without its own batteries that is designed to run off a central battery system.
  • Static Inverter: This is a central system which enables mains fittings to be utilized as emergency.
  • Emergency Escape Lighting: Is to enable to see safe exit from a location in the event of failure of the supply to the normal lighting system.
  • Escape Route Lighting: Is to enable the safe exit from a location for occupants by providing appropriate visual conditions and direction finding on escape routes and in special locations, and to ensure that fire fighting and safety equipment can be readily located and used.
  • Open Area (Anti-Panic) Lighting: Is to reduce the likelihood of panic and to enable safe movement of occupants towards escape routes by providing appropriate visual conditions and direction finding.
  • High Risk Task Area Lighting: Is to contribute to the safety of people involved in a potentially dangerous process or situation and to enable proper shut down procedures to be carried out for the safety of other occupants of the location.