What is Emergency Lighting, and Why Do You Need It?


Emergency lighting services

Emergency lighting is required under British Law for every commercial property, including apartment buildings. The purpose of emergency lighting is to protect people from hazards such as fire. Emergency lighting services are of four basic types:

  • Escape route lighting: Used to identify escape routes so people can conveniently evacuate the building in case of a hazard.
  • Open Area Lighting: Lighting that enables occupants to reach an open area for identifying the escape route. 
  • High-risk task area Lighting: Lighting at areas with a high risk because of any dangerous process that must be stopped before evacuation, such as turning off machinery or equipment.
  • Emergency or stay-put lighting: Occupants stay put before being directed to a low-risk area. The duration of stay put has to be identified, and the end of the duration has to be indicated. 

UK Legislation about emergency lighting

All existing and new buildings have to comply with numerous regulations and rules, including:

  •  Workplace Directive (89/654).  
  • Building Regulations 2000.  
  • The Construction Products Directive. Approved Document B Fire Safety.
  • Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) 2005 (Statutory) – England & Wales
  •  The Fire (Scotland) Act 2006 
  •  Fire & Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 
  • The Signs Directive (90/664) was implemented in the UK by Statutory Instrument 341 (Statutory) 
  •  The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (Statutory)

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) 

Under the regulatory reform order, the following has to be ensured.

  • The building owner, occupant, or employer may be considered the “responsible person” and must conduct a comprehensive risk assessment.
  • His Responsibilities include providing suitable fire detection and fighting equipment and maintenance.
  • The safety of the building has to be ensured at all times. Occupants must have suitable protection if they have to remain in the building during any failure of supply, etc.
  •  A written risk assessment has to be provided if the number of occupants is five or higher.
  •  Compliance with the “Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises” (BS 5266-1:2016) is required. 
  • Compliance with the ” Code of Practice for fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings” (BS 5839-6:2019) is required. 
  •  The enforcing authority will be the Fire and rescue services.

Failure to comply with the above is considered an offense and may result in heavy fines, imprisonment, or both. 

Emergency lighting services

Risk Assessments

 Risk assessments and consultations play a significant role in ensuring the effectiveness of emergency lighting. The responsibilities of a risk assessor include the following: 

  • Risk Assessment: This includes the identification of potential hazards identification of sensitive locations and people.
  • Risk Management: Includes mitigating the identified risks by taking appropriate steps.
  • Developing a sustainable risk policy. • 
  • Implementation of procedures. Providing the right training and conducting fire drills.

The BS 5266-1

BS 5266-1 gives detailed guidance for applying and practicing emergency lighting. The standard includes details about:

  • Design specifications and installation.
  • Minimum duration. 
  • Response times • 
  • Minimum to Maximum ratio of luminosity for specific areas. 
  • Maintaining log books and certificates.

Premises that require emergency lighting

In the United Kingdom, the fire safety legislation requires that the following promises must install for emergency lighting:

  • Shops and offices
  • Care-providing businesses.
  • Community halls.
  • Restaurants, Clubs, and Pubs.
  • Schools. 
  • Marquees and Tents.
  • Hostels and Hotels.
  • Warehouses and factories.
  • Buildings with multiple occupants.

Regular Servicing, inspection, and maintenance

Compliance with the above regulations is not only required for new Emergency Lighting Installation in London but also for regular servicing. A certified expert should conduct annual inspections and routine maintenance to ensure that your property complies with all regulations.

Non-compliance can result in penalties such as fines, cancellation of business licenses, and imprisonment. The penalty can be even more strict if it is found in case of a hazard that the necessary security measures were not taken. Fire safety certificates must be in place, and you should carry out proper checks to ensure that the emergency lighting system works correctly.

Benefits of Emergency lighting services

  • Emergency lighting can protect your assets from hazards and thus safeguard your investment.
  • Emergency lighting helps evacuate a building in case of a hazard.
  • They can reduce panic during evacuation and therefore make the process relatively convenient.
  • Fire & safety staff which is new to your building and has to provide rescue services, can be easily guided.
  • There are many laws and regulations about fire safety and emergency lighting. Complying with them can protect you from legal action.

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