An emergency lighting system plays a critical part in creating a building environment that can be evacuated quickly and safely during an emergency situation, for example, in the event of a fire.
If the power supply to the standard lighting provision fails, emergency lighting automatically activates to ensure people can still find their way out unharmed. It can also allow business or day-to-day activities to continue undisrupted during more minor incidences, such as a power-outage.
As a standard requirement under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) 2005, all workplaces and any building to which the public has access (including multi-storey dwellings) must illuminate emergency routes and exits “with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting.”
British Standard BS 5266: Part 1: 2011 recommends the minimum types and durations of emergency lighting systems relating to each category of premises; for example, the requirements are different across clubs, hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, shops, and many more types of building. Amthal can help you establish the requirements for your particular type(s) of premises
Types of emergency lighting
There are different types of emergency lighting, which can be divided up into the following categories:
Emergency escape lighting
Emergency escape lighting provides illumination to help guide anyone leaving a location in the event of an emergency, quickly and safely. It also helps someone attempting to terminate a potentially dangerous process before leaving a location, for example, shutting down heavy machinery.
This type of emergency lighting can also be split into further categories; escape route lighting offers lighting to ensure the means of escape can be easily and effectively identified. Open area lighting (also known as anti-panic lighting) presents illumination in larger areas to allow occupants to reach a place where an escape route can be identified. This can be particularly helpful to avoid panic during emergencies in larger areas of a building, for example, on an expansive factory floor.
High risk task area lighting
High risk task area lighting illuminates locations that involve a potentially dangerous process or situation, for example, where occupants might be working with hazardous chemicals or sharp objects. This enables the proper shutdown procedures for the safety of the operator and other occupants of the premises. Once they have negated any risk around the high-risk activity, the occupant can then follow escape routes to reach a place of safety.
Standby lighting enables normal activities to resume in the event of a power outage or other disruption. Standby lighting is not currently a legal requirement, but can be very useful when a disruption to power might mean lost potential earnings when workers could otherwise continue production safely, or unnecessary disruption to the learning programme in a school.
Maintaining your emergency lighting system
Properly maintaining a building’s emergency lighting system is also a requirement under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) 2005; Amthal can support the owner or occupier (or other responsible person) in establishing and carrying out these processes, for example, with weekly or monthly light flick tests to help ensure the integrity of the system.