Emergency lighting should form part of the fire risk assessment for every business and commercial premises. The UK the Fire safety Order lays out the requirements for emergency lighting regulations, we can guide you through this. The following information will give you a better understanding of what is required.
British standard 5266 states:
“Every workplace shall have suitable and sufficient emergency lighting and that suitable and sufficient emergency lighting shall be provided and maintained in any room in which persons at work are specifically exposed to danger in the event of failure of artificial lighting.”
Local authorities often have their own requirements regarding emergency lighting. Wirral Fire work closely with Cheshire, Wirral and Liverpool councils. We offer guidance regarding any addition requirements these councils may place on your premises.
What is emergency lighting?
- Emergency escape lighting which is designed to help people evacuate quickly and safely when a dangerous situation arises.
- Standby lighting that continues to illuminate to ensure activity can continue in the event of power failure.
Emergency escape lighting is essential to show clearly where the exit routes from the building are. It helps to prevent panic during any emergency and evacuation. In addition to providing escape, emergency lighting should show the location of and identify fire equipment. Examples include portable fire extinguisher and call points and also aid any fire fighting or first aid required.
Emergency lighting systems should routinely cover the following:
- Each exit door
- Escape routes
- Intersections of corridors
- Outside each final exit and on external escape routes
- Emergency escape signs
The size and type of your premises and the risk to the occupants will determine the complexity of the emergency lighting required. In larger more complex premises a comprehensive system of fixed automatic escape lighting is likely to be needed. This will be particularly true in premises where there is a significant number of staff or members of the public. If escape routes require artificial illumination, you need to consider whether emergency lighting is necessary. The fire risk assessment will judge the likelihood that a fire will cause the normal lighting on any part of the escape route to fail before occupants escape from the area. This loss of normal lighting could result in injury as people try to evacuate the building.
Risk factors for designing a system:
- Distance to the escape routes
- Who is in the building? Are they familiar with the layout?
- What is in place to give early warning of fire
- Is anything in place to stop the spread of fire
- Is there any borrowed light (e.g. street lights)
- Operational hours when people are in the building
- Is there a sleeping risk
- Areas with no windows
Emergency lighting systems should conform to the recommendations in BS 5266-1 and the requirements of BS 5266-7 and 8.
Categories of emergency lighting
Non maintained – These lights just come on when the power fails and are powered by batteries.
Maintained – These lights are on all the time powered by the mains supply but when this power source fails they switch to batteries.
Combined – This light has more than one lamp. When the mains fail it has a lamp that operates in an emergency .
Your fire risk assessor will identify which system will be appropriate for your site depending on the factors mentioned earlier.
Installation and servicing and maintenance of the system also forms part of the legislation and it is the responsible person job to ensure that any contractor is competent when carrying out these tasks. Proof of competence come from third party accreditations such as BAFE.
Emergency lighting should be tested weekly by someone on site, when we install a system we will also train any operators of the system so they are confident in carrying out and logging these tests.
We offer different levels of servicing for emergency lighting testing depending on your requirements. Emergency lights that are regularly maintained are the most reliable systems.