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Your Guide to Emergency Lighting

Emergency lighting is an important aspect to your businesses fire safety that is often overlooked. It is the responsible person who is in control of the premises emergency lighting, and should ensure they are aware of The Regulatory Reform (fire Safety) Order 2005. They have a duty of care to the members of staff and public who will be using the building.


What is Emergency Lighting?

In the event of a power outage the mains supply to the normal lighting of a premises is disconnected and normal lights will turn off causing the building to be in darkness. If this was to happen then the emergency light will sense the lack of mains power and their battery will kick in and they will light up.


Why do I need Emergency Lighting in my Business Premises?

As the responsible person of your business premises, you have the responsibility of the safety of the people in your building. If a power outage was to occur it is important to illuminate the escape routes, such as corridors and stairways, for an quick and efficient evacuation of the. Emergency lighting is also used to show where fire fighting and fire protection can be found.


Current Legislation – British Standard BS 5266 updated

In 2016 BS 5266 (the British Standard for emergency lighting) changed. It is now more in line with the European standard, EN1838 however, the British version has been adapted to be more ‘local’. Although standards may not be law, they are best practice and should be followed in order to be compliant. One London landlord found out the hard way and was fined £2,000 and ordered to do 100 hours of community work for his guilty plea to 10 counts of fire safety failings, one of which was the lack of emergency lights. Continue reading

One of the major changes to BS5266 is the addition of ‘emergency safety lighting’. This has been introduced after questions were asked about staying in the building after a power failure – should the emergency lighting come on and stay even if the mains fail due to battery backup.


Duration of Battery Back-up

This is dependent on the use of the building but 3 hours is the typical duration for a number of types of business. 1 hour duration may be acceptable in some premises if evacuation is immediate and re-occupation is delayed until the system has recharged. If your premises fall under both 3 hour and 1 hour categories, the 3 hour should be applied throughout.


Maintenance on your Emergency Lights

Maintenance is essential on your emergency lighting systems and should be carried out at regular intervals by a professional fire engineer.
It is advised to have a maintenance contract in place with a competent fire company so you can arrange routine inspections and also emergency repairs and alterations.

If you need emergency lighting and safety signage for your business then why not book one of our Fire and Security Consultants to visit your business and conduct a FREE site surveyGive us a call today on 0845 402 3045 or email

2 Responses to Your Guide to Emergency Lighting

  1. Keith Fox August 30, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    .Thanks for the monthly letter which is always interesting. Re: Emergency Lighting. I get confused as to what is ‘maintained’ and what is ‘non-maintained’. A comment on this in your Guide would be useful.

    • admin August 30, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

      Hi Keith,
      Maintained emergency lights are always illuminated, whereas non-maintained emergency lights only come on if/when there is a power outage.

      I hope this helps