Emergency Light Servicing & Testing Advice by Fire Safety Experts

If you wonder about the importance of emergency light testing, then here's your answer. The United Kingdom Fire Safety Legislation stipulates that all emergency lighting must undergo a complete testing phase once a year. Moreover, it must receive a 'flick-test' once a month, at least.

Emergency Light Servicing & Testing Advice by Fire Safety Experts

The primary purpose behind emergency lighting is to illuminate the escape routes in case of an emergency. Moreover, it can also allow occupants of a building caught in a fire to find the fire-fighting equipment. 

Common Testing Method

Emergency lighting is generally powered by rechargeable batteries that charge themselves from the primary power source or an alternate power source. The emergency lights, known as "luminaries", are either continuously active or are activated by a certain trigger, like an interruption in the main power supply. 

A simple test is performed by simulating a main power supply failure. It checks that your luminaries and emergency system are in full working order, i.e. up to the British Standards stipulated by the regulations.

One hour is the minimum permitted duration for an emergency escape lighting system. That's why your annual testing will confirm that all your emergency lights turn on and stay active for at least 60 minutes once the main power supply goes out. The maximum time for remaining active depends on the kind of batteries you are using for your emergency lighting. 

Testing Frequency for Emergency Lighting

You must arrange the testing of emergency lights on your premises both monthly and annually. Usually, both kind of testing can be done by the resident fire safety professional in the building. Otherwise, you can rely on professional electricians' help with experience in emergency lighting.

There's no need for special scheduling. This sort of testing can be carried out simultaneously with your annual fire alarm system maintenance activity.

Annual checks consist of switching off the emergency lighting unit's main power source and leaving it active for a maximum time period (usually three hours). If the lights do not last for the testing period, then the batteries must be replaced.

Monthly Checklist for Emergency Lighting

All emergency lighting tests work when the main power supply is switched off. It is good to plan ahead and take steps to avoid disruption, such as;
- Turn off the primary power source that supplies your emergency lighting system 
- Use a specialist key switch for the test. 
- Use the fuse box if you do not have a key switch. 
- Go through all the emergency lights one-by-one and verify all of them are working. 
- After the verification, restore the main power supply. 
- Make sure to have all dirty or obscured lights cleaned up. 
- Check potential areas of black on the lamp with fluorescent lighting and replace them.

Make sure to record all safety tests, their results, and actions taken in a logbook.

Traditional Emergency Lighting vs Modern LED Emergency Lighting

There has been a steady shift in recent years. People are more partial to using LED emergency lights over the traditional fluorescent emergency lighting nowadays. The main reason behind this shift is a reduction in energy consumption.

The initial installation of LED lighting can be expensive than traditional emergency lights. However, they pay off in the long run with reduced electricity bills.

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