What is Emergency Lighting?
Emergency lighting constitutes emergency escape lighting and standby lighting. The two are distinct from each other. The former is more important and has to adhere to the guidelines of the fire protection of the building. Emergency escape lighting means the part of emergency lighting that is enabled for a safe exit when there is breakage or no main supply. Whereas standby lighting is that aspect of emergency lighting which ensures that the daily activities are not interrupted even when there is no supply from the mains. However, emergency lighting is mainly responsible for the safe evacuation of the people from the building and is connected to the fire protection plan.
Moreover, there is a rule that every non-domestic building in the UK must have an emergency light fitted for safety purposes. Also, the umbrella standard for emergency lighting is BS 5266. This code of safety must be followed while the installation of an emergency lighting system. From designating the job to a responsible person to checking that the products adhere to the necessary emergency lighting regulations and guidelines, every protocol of the code should be followed for the complete installation of emergency lighting. Emergency lighting regulations need to be followed strictly without any compromise for the safety of the people and the premises.
Types of Emergency Lighting
There are various types of emergency fittings. The emergency fittings need to be maintained and checked regularly for smooth functioning. Some types of emergency lighting are:
Maintained Emergency Lights
These lights are connected to the main supply and continue to work with them, but they have batteries charged continuously. So when there is a break in the electricity supply, these lights continue to work till the batteries support them. Also, these types of maintained lighting require regular maintenance.
Non-maintained Emergency Lights
These lights are not connected to the main supply but have LED lights to indicate the battery levels. As soon as the mains get cut off, these lights get lit and show the evacuation path. These lights require little or no maintenance. They are generally used in lighting evacuation paths. Every building has different needs, so one has to consult a professional to decide which suits you the best.
Combined Emergency Lights
As the name suggests these combinations of lights have two more fitting lights. One of them is connected to the mains and the other is not. These combinations of lights are highly recommended as they have a backup of their own. Apart from the above, there are luminaire systems that support emergency lights. You must contact a certified professional to get the best emergency lighting system installed.
Where is emergency lighting necessary?
Emergency lights should be installed in commercial and domestic buildings. In fact, emergency lightings should be installed everywhere where there is lighting. There should be a backup if the main supply goes off for any reason. But in domestic and non-domestic buildings there are places where emergency lights should be fitted compulsorily. The open areas should have a minimum of 1 lux of emergency lights installed. This is for the open areas that will act as escape areas. If the open area is not identified as an escape area, the building can have doors and signs with emergency lights leading to the nearest open space. This open space if not identified as an escape zone may or may not have an emergency light installed.
This is a very important place wherein emergency lights need to be compulsorily installed. It is mandatory for every building to have an emergency escape route and that route should have certified emergency lights fitted. Even these lights should be a minimum of 1 lux. Moreover, the escape routes should be free of any obstacles. These are the most important places wherein emergency lights need to be installed. Even when there is no case of evacuation, there can be power cuts, or a situation where the staircases need to be lit up to avoid any mishaps or accidents. Thus, these areas require 2 lux of lighting. Please ensure that the staircase in your building is well lit to avoid all types of accidents during power cuts, evacuation, and panic situations.
What are emergency lighting luminaires?
Emergency lighting luminaires are devices that have emergency lighting installed in it. These luminaires may be combined with main supply lighting or independently work on batteries. Emergency lighting luminaires that are attached to lighting with main supply receive power from the mains. But when there is a power cut, these luminaires illuminate as they have a backup of secondary supply.
The luminaires which are independent of the mains have their batteries charged through the mains and indicate the levels through the LED. Thus, when there is no supply from the mains, it illuminates and lightens up the escape or evacuation route.
These luminaires can be further classified as maintained and non-maintained luminaires
Maintained luminaires require regular maintenance. These are connected with the mains and other lights of the area, and when there is a power cut, these lights illuminate with the help of batteries. Whereas non-maintained luminaires do not light up every day. They light up as soon as there is a power cut or no power supply in the mains. These lights require little or no maintenance. A building in London can install maintained or non-maintained luminaires or a combination of both. It is essential to adhere to the rules of local emergency lighting rules of the UK before the installation of emergency lights
LED emergency lighting
Emergency LED lights are widely used in buildings for a safe evacuation process. These lights charge themselves continuously on the main power supply and light up as soon as there is a power cut. They provide the appropriate brightness required to safely evacuate a building. Another advantage of using these lights is that they work for long hours on adequate battery power. Thus, fluorescent lights are being replaced by LED lights in safety systems.
Also, LED lights are power savers. The battery they consume is remarkably lower than any other light. Today, even fire systems recommend LED lights to be installed as emergency lights, as they give a better view even in the fog or smoke. Moreover, LED lights are installed as emergency lights as they cost less. Not that the safety costs should be compromised. But they generate more light and consume less energy than ordinary fluorescent lights. Emergency LEDs can be combined in the wiring of the other lights too, but they light up only after the mains go off. Although, they work sufficiently well on the charged battery.
Light Level Requirements
Every emergency light has requirements to be met. The lux that the light emits has to be adhering to the standard of the emergency guidelines of the UK. From open spaces to staircases every emergency light has fixed light level requirements. The emergency lights should be lit for at least 1.5 hours or more in the event of power failure. Also, the open spaces must have an illumination of at least 1 lux. Similarly, it goes for the lighting in the corridors for an escape route. A corridor should have emergency lighting of 1 lux.
But the staircases need an emergency light requirement of 2 lux. And that is because a staircase is more prone to mishaps. It needs light to deliver safety even in panicky situations. The duration of the light should be also 2 hours or more. There are defined level and time requirements too for emergency lights. These should be followed to avoid repercussions. Also, there are fixed types of lights that have to be used in dedicated spaces.
Nonetheless, always hire a professional who knows the requirements of emergency lighting. Hiring professionals for such kinds of work is the best way to ensure that you are doing things the right way.
How Does Emergency lighting work?
Emergency lights are meant to work in emergencies. Thus emergency lighting wiring is connected to the electrical supply in that way. As emergency lights have strict guidelines in London, they have maintenance and no maintenance types. Generally, the combination of both the lights is better. Maintenance emergency lights, as explained earlier too, are connected with the main supply and also with the other lights. These types of emergency lights can be operated along with the other lights. But when the main supply gets cut off, these emergency lights remain lighted on the battery backup.
On the other hand, no-maintenance emergency lights charge their batteries with the main supply but only get lit when the main supply gets cut off. These lights hardly require any maintenance. They are connected to the main supply circuit but do not work with the other lights. The working and testing of emergency lights should be installed by a qualified engineer. The mains are turned off to check if the emergency lights are working properly. And they should be turned on to check if the batteries of the lights are being charged continuously.
The emergency lighting systems in and around London, UK should adhere to the safety guidelines and the fire department’s rules. During an emergency, there should be no compromise on the light system, its type, and the lux it eliminates. All domestic and non-domestic complexes should ensure regular tests of the emergency light system and other safety features. People should also ensure that these systems are regularly checked and maintained.
These emergency light systems may seem like an add-on budget but you should make it a necessary expenditure and do not consider it as an optional one. Plus, you will have to pay a heavy fine if your complex is not safeguarded with all the necessary safety features.