Why Test Emergency Lighting?

The reason for testing emergency lighting is to ensure that they remain fully functional (for a specified duration) during a mains electrical failure and that all lighting and exit signs are up to date with current legislation and are adequate for the purpose intended, to allow staff and others to vacate the premises safely.

BS5266 recommends that emergency lighting systems be regularly serviced by a ‘competent’ person, who has the necessary knowledge, skills and training to undertake the correct servicing procedures.

By Implementing a system of periodic inspection and testing, this will ensure that emergency lighting systems remain reliable at all times and that in the event of an emergency or power failure, the emergency lighting operates, correctly, and remains effective for a certain period of time, depending on the lighting type.

Routine Testing should be carried out:

• Daily – visual check to ensure that emergency systems are operating correctly and that indicators are working. This should be carried out by the ‘responsible person’ delegated to the task by the organisation/business. Any faults should be logged and corrected asap in the emergeny lighting log book.

• Monthly – Check all luminaires for signs of damage or disrepair. Briefly test all emergency luminaires to ensure that they operate in the event of mains electricity supply failure. This will usually be carried out by the ‘responsible person’. Any faults should be logged and corrected asap.

• Annually – A full system inspection and duration test of the emergency lights should be performed by a ‘competent person’, this being a person with the necessary skills, training and knowledge to perform the correct maintenance and servicing.This will involve cutting the power to the emergency system and monitoring the light levels etc, to ensure that they function correctly. Compliance with BS5266 should be considered and produced in the certification report. Any faults should be rectified.

Emergency lighting is required generally when:

• Emergency luminaires are required where artificial lighting is installed

• On escape routes

• Open areas greater than 60 square metres

• Areas of special risk

• Near to stairs and adequate to shine direct light on all treads

• At any change of direction

• At any changes in floor level

• Near to corridors and intersections

• Near to fire fighting equipment

• Near to first aid points

• Outside each final exit point