Emergency lights are designed to switch on in emergency situations when the usual lighting fails. It provides adequate illumination for people to be able to see to exit a building safely.
In general, emergency lighting systems are battery powered, either self-contained or single point. Both types have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Emergency lights are a very important standard safety feature in commercial buildings and other properties where many people gather such as HMOs, hotels, theatres etc.
In the early days, these emergency lighting systems used incandescent light bulbs then adapted fluorescent lights later on. Today, led lighting is the new standard in terms of emergency lighting. The use of LEDs is a common practice in the industry because LEDs are cost-efficient and power-saving. Also, the LEDs have a much longer lifespan compared to its predecessor.
What are the different types of emergency lighting?
Emergency lighting is a type of commercial lighting and is a general term and is subdivided into emergency escape lighting and standby lighting.
The BSI guide to emergency lighting describes Emergency escape lighting as "that part of emergency lighting that is provided to enable safe exit in the event of failure of the normal supply". Standby lighting is described as "that part of the emergency lighting provided to enable normal activities to continue in the event of failure of the normal mains supply".
Emergency escape lighting allows smooth, safe and quick evacuation of a building by illuminating the escape routes and keeping them lit.
Open area/anti-panic lighting is useful for large public buildings, such as shopping centres, libraries or museums etc, that attract large numbers of visitors that are not familiar with the layout of the building. Panic may happen when there is an emergency in the area and the lighting fails, and open area lighting is essential in helping people find the escape routes and guiding people toward them.
High-risk task area lighting ensures the safety of the people in a potentially dangerous situation, allowing them to follow proper shut-down procedures for their own safety and the safety of other occupants. This type of emergency lighting applies to limited scenarios only.
How long should emergency lighting stay on?
The time your emergency lights should remain illuminated will greatly depend on the size of your building and the complexity of evacuation. The very minimum amount of time your emergency escape lighting should stay on is 1 hour if the building is evacuated immediately. In cases where people may be sleeping in the building or evacuation may not be instant, then a minimum of 3 hours should be used!
When should I replace the emergency lighting battery?
Just like with fire alarms, it is recommended that owners should perform regular tests and maintenance. If the results of these tests are unsatisfactory, then you should replace the batteries.
What are the advantages of using LED emergency lights?
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were initially used as indicators in lamps. Today, there is an increasing number of emergency lighting that uses LEDs as the light source. Here are some of the advantages of using LEDs. First, they are more energy and cost-efficient than traditional bulbs. They do not give off as much heat like other light sources. They light up instantly. You can turn on and off them often without harming the LEDs. They are not fragile and have a lifespan of thousands of hours. Lastly, they are environmentally friendly as they do not use mercury to light up.