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What is Emergency Lighting?

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ATS Emergency Lighting

For too long emergency lighting has been regarded as a secondary consideration when it comes to building safety systems. Yet, in the event of a power cut or fire, emergency lighting is crucial to the swift and safe evacuation of occupants from any building.

What is Emergency Lighting?

Emergency lighting is a term used to describe both emergency escape lighting and standby lighting, and is used only for immediate evacuation.

It’s a system of luminaires automatically activating when the power supply to the normal lighting fails.

Emergency lighting is a fundamental element of public and commercial building safety and it must provide illumination of a sufficiently high level to enable all occupants to evacuate the premises safely.

Sufficient illumination relates to both illumination levels and duration. Put simply, emergency lighting must be strong enough to guide people to an exit for the full period of time it takes to evacuate all inhabitants of the building.

Why is Emergency Lighting so important?

In simple terms, having a well-designed emergency lighting system can help save lives.

Without an emergency lighting system in place, the sudden darkness during a power outage can impede the safe evacuation of those within the building, which can have detrimental effects to occupants’ safety.

How does it work?

Emergency lights are battery-operated and provide backup power in the event of an outage. These lights can be stand-alone, or integrated into existing lights, but both types are wired to the mains supply when installed.

During periods of normal lighting operation, emergency light batteries can be powered from the mains – keeping the battery fully charged at all times. When power is disrupted, the charged battery can provide replacement power to the emergency light.

Who is responsible for the installation and maintenance?

Owners of all sizes of public and commercial buildings, as well as private multi-unit residences with shared areas, have a legal duty of care to protect occupants.

It is the responsibility of a person designated by the building’s owner to conduct a risk assessment to establish if and where emergency lighting is required. Following this, a plan should be drawn up showing specific areas to be covered and the type of emergency lighting fixture to be used.

Property owners and facility managers should fully understand the role of emergency lighting as they are responsible for its maintenance, which includes physical and visual inspections, as well as detailed record keeping.

By enlisting a trusted partner like Safecility for this crucial process, you can free up resources, while also saving time and money. Click here to learn more about what we do at Safecility.

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Where should Emergency Lighting be installed?

There are many types of buildings required to have emergency lighting in place: hotels, hospitals, schools, offices, shops, factories, restaurants and entertainment venues, to name but a few.

The location of emergency escape lighting will differ from building to building. Generally speaking, emergency luminaires should be installed in the following areas:

• Staircases

• Any change in floor level

• Any change of direction

• At firefighting equipment and fire alarm panel

• At escape equipment for the disabled

• At intersection of corridors

• At Emergency Exits and outside towards a place of safety

• Outside the final exit

Are there certain standards and regulations to adhere to?

Emergency lighting is legally required and is governed by standards. The number of emergency escape lights required to be compliant varies depending on the size, layout and classification of the building in question.

These standards are in place to impose an obligation on owners to install emergency lighting in case of failure of normal lighting.

The minimum illumination duration safety standard for emergency lighting is three hours.

By working with a reliable service provider like Safecility, you can keep the occupants of your building out of harm’s way and track compliance digitally with our smart sensors and automated reporting platform. Contact us here to see how we can help you achieve automated compliance.

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Check out the rest of our guides:

Your Testing Obligations

Types of Emergency Lighting Testing Systems

LED vs Traditional Bulbs

Hidden Costs of Emergency Lighting

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