The Function of Emergency Lighting
The function of emergency lighting is not to illuminate a building when the power goes out. The role of emergency lighting is to illuminate key areas that are required in an emergency. These areas comprise:
- Escape routes – Emergency lighting should help people see in any passageways or stairways that lead to exits.
In addition to this, lighting should be used to ensure that people are aware of any changes in direction.
They should also be used to highlight hazards en route that might cause people to trip if they were not made clear. In the dark, when people are trying to leave the area, it is possible for everyday obstacles to become extremely dangerous and even lethal.
- Firefighting equipment and first-aid kits – Highlighting this equipment with emergency lighting can help staff or response personnel save lives.
Even if the building policy is that people should head to exit points without tackling fires, regardless of whether or not it seems safe to do so, illuminating firefighting and first aid equipment will be useful to response teams who enter the building.
- Open areas, aka ‘anti-panic’ lighting – This is not the same as stand-by lighting. When these lights are on, it is definitely not business-as-usual. The intention is that they illuminate large, open spaces, making people feel safe enough to evacuate the building.
By focusing on these lighting needs, you can ensure that your staff and other occupants of your building can escape in the event of an emergency.
Kinds of Emergency Lighting
In a blackout, the various kinds of emergency lighting can illuminate the path towards fire exits. Forms of emergency lighting vary, including internal or external bulkheads, twin spots, and illuminated exit signs.
It’s not enough to put lights where you think they might be needed. A fire safety expert should be involved in making sure that the installation meets the required legislation and will protect lives as effectively possible.
We hope that you will never need to use your emergency lighting. If you do, however, we want you to have the best lighting for your needs. A high-quality, properly-installed emergency lighting system can prevent injuries and save lives. There should be no compromises when it comes to emergency lighting.
Always make sure that you have the proper documentation for the lighting and see that they are tested at least as regularly and as thoroughly as required. This will help you to avoid any legal issues, but, more importantly, it will help ensure your safety and that of everyone who uses your building.
It’s wise to purchase your lights and have them installed and maintained by the same firm. This helps to ensure that the people involved with your emergency lighting are familiar with it and can provide consistent performance and service. A reputable firm providing emergency lighting, installation, and maintenance, will be familiar with all relevant regulations.
Maintained or Non-Maintained Fittings
If you’ve been asked whether you desire maintained or non-maintained fittings, you are being asked whether you want emergency lights that an individual must operate or emergency lights that come on automatically in the event of a power failure.
With a maintained fitting, the lighting can be wired so that it is permanently on or it can be activated and de-activated via a light switch.
In the case of non-maintained fitting, your emergency lights will be activated automatically when power is lost to the unit. In this scenario, lights can stay on for up to around three hours, which gives most people plenty of time to escape an affected area.
A non-maintained fitting should be tested regularly to ensure that it is working correctly. You do not want it to let you down when the power goes out. Depending on your chosen emergency lighting, there may be components that can fail when not in use for extended periods.
Regular Testing of Your Emergency Lighting
Not only is regular resting required to help you meet regulations concerning emergency lighting, but it can also save you money.
When your emergency lights are powered by the mains supply, the battery back-up will kick in if the mains power is lost. For these batteries to work efficiently, they need to be used from time to time. If they are only used when necessary, they will either die or perform at less than their best when you are most in need. Emergency lighting batteries that are charged and discharged regularly will perform for longer than those that are ignored.
When back-up batteries are topped up by the onboard charger of the light fitting, they can suffer from being overcharged and lose effectiveness. Following regulations and the manufacturers’ recommendations regarding testing, therefore, can drain batteries, reducing overcharging, making it more likely that your batteries will pass inspections and stand up to operation in an emergency.
Having to replace back-up batteries can be a hassle and an avoidable expense, so test them regularly to avoid this eventuality.