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Emergency Lighting


We have expert experience in emergency lighting design, installation and maintenance. Whether you require emergency escape lighting, standby lighting or escape route lighting, we design and install comprehensive BS5266-compliant emergency lighting systems in all the boroughs of London and across the home counties.

What is emergency lighting?

Emergency lighting is a lighting system designed to operate automatically if and when standard lighting fails to work due to a power failure caused by a fault, a power outage or a fire, for example.

Sudden darkness often causes severe panic as well as physical danger. The primary purpose of the emergency lighting is to minimise the risk of harm to the occupants of the building by providing light. Emergency lighting must operate automatically and provide sufficient illumination to enable all occupants to safely evacuate the premises in an emergency.

It is a legal requirement that most public, commercial and some multi-storey residential buildings install emergency lighting. It is a critical component of a building’s fire strategy under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Types of emergency lighting systems

There are different types of emergency lighting systems. They vary according to the back-up power source, the mode of operation, testing facility and purpose of the lighting, and the required duration of operation (on back-up power).

Emergency lighting systems according to the back-up power source

Depending on the back-up power source, there are two types of emergency lighting

  • Self-contained and
  • Central battery operated

The self-contained emergency lights have a rechargeable, integrated back-up battery within the unit.

In central battery-operated systems, all emergency light units are powered from a central rechargeable back-up battery. Individual emergency units do not have integrated batteries within the unit.

Emergency lighting systems according to their mode of operation

By mode of operation, there are two distinct types of emergency lights available

  • Non-Maintained: where the emergency lights only illuminate if there is a power failure
  • Maintained: where the emergency lights are illuminated at all times. If the main supply fails, the system automatically switches to the back-up battery power.
However, popular choices these days are
  • Combined Non-Maintained and
  • Combined Maintained

Whether a maintained or a non-maintained emergency lighting system is required usually depends on the use and type of premises. Some premises require a maintained system where others only need a non-maintained system.

The specified duration of operation

Emergency lighting systems have duration ratings of 10, 60, 120 and 180 minutes. This is the length of time they can run on back-up battery power.

The most common emergency lighting systems are rated 180 minutes (3 hours). These units must provide a minimum of 3 hours of illumination on back-up battery power in the event of a mains power failure.

Testing emergency lighting systems

To meet legal requirements, all emergency lighting systems must be tested regularly.

Monthly emergency lighting tests

All emergency lights must be tested monthly. The monthly test is usually a short functional test to confirm that the batteries are charging, lamps are working, and that the units are free of dust and have not been defaced.  Any defects must be rectified immediately, and a logbook maintained.

Annual emergency lighting test

Annual emergency lighting testing involves the same procedure as monthly testing. However, the annual test must be carried out to cover the full duration specified in the emergency lighting design specifications.

If the system is rated 10 minutes, the device must be tested for at least 10 minutes and should provide illumination for a full 10 minutes on back-up battery during the test.

All the test records are recorded in an emergency lighting logbook.