Since 2006, certain buildings have been obliged to install emergency lighting in order to protect people whilst at the premises. The new laws consider emergency lighting to be units that are connected to battery back-up supplies in case the building’s mains power stops working. The battery power allows these emergency lights to be used to guide people to safety in the event of a fire, or other serious accident. Keeping these lights in good working order is an essential part of staying within the fire safety laws.
Most types of emergency lighting should conform to British Standards, including BS 5588 and BS 5266. These need to be illuminated by battery power for a minimum of 3 hours. There are two main types of emergency light, known as maintained and non-maintained. The difference between the two depends upon their use and position within the building. Maintained lights are illuminated throughout the ordinary day, being linked to the mains, and only use battery power when that mains source is removed. Non-maintained emergency lights, however are not always illuminated but come on when triggered by a failure in the mains power supply.
In addition to ensuring that the business owner or responsible person has the correct maintained emergency lights and non-maintained emergency lights in place, it is also important to consider the placement of those lights. The lights themselves should be tested internally every month and serviced at least once a year completing a three hour duration test. Most emergency lights are fitted with legends (the stickers on them) to aid people to fire exit doors but it is always common practice to include fire signage in teams of fire exit signs and assembly point signs in the building. Fire and Electrical Safety Ltd can help building owners to decide on the correct emergency lights, where they should be positioned, and carry out emergency light servicing.