Why must I consider emergency lighting?
"Emergency routes and exits requiring illumination must be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting".
This is an excerpt from the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) 2005 Article 14 (2) (h), , which came into force in October 2006, http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/1541/article/14/made
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) 2005 charges the responsible person in control of non-domestic premises and the common areas of a House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) with the safety of everyone in the building, whether working, visiting or living there. This duty of care includes the provision of emergency lighting.
The British Standard for emergency lighting BS5266, under this standard the duties of the responsible person are as follows:
"The responsible person has to be able to demonstrate that the hardware of fire safety systems and their maintenance are adequate to protect the occupants. Fire protection products and related services should be fit for their purpose and properly installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions or the relevant British Standard." (A Guide to Emergency Lighting Second Edition, 2012, p 211)
The responsible person can be the building or business owner, so an MD of a small bakery should be aware of their responsibility in the same way as a professional facilities manager in a national corporation.
This where CCSS can help business owners as we have over 20 years’ experience of designing, installing, commissioning and maintaining emergency light systems of all types and sizes to BAFE standards.
With responsibility for emergency lighting on thousands of sites across the Midlands and the North of England CCSS has expertise few can rival in the following areas:
- Planning and design of the system
- Positioning of emergency lighting luminaires (wall/ceiling mounted lights and signs)
- Permanent installation of all fittings
- Periodic testing/maintenance of the system
CCSS is NICEIC approved and therefore all our installations are certified to BS7671 giving you peace of mind.
So, if you have had a Fire Risk Assessment and the resulting guidance says you should review your emergency light provision then contact CCSS and request a free survey of your needs.
While we are there we can offer advice and guidance on your fire alarm, fire extinguishers and anything else of concern highlighted on your Fire Risk Assessment points of action, one survey, one quotation, one phone number 0121 604 4499
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 you are obliged as an employer or building owner to carry out the following in relation to Emergency routes and exits
*source is http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/1541/article/14/made
(1) Where necessary in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons, the responsible person must ensure that routes to emergency exits from premises and the exits themselves are kept clear at all times.
(2) The following requirements must be complied with in respect of premises where necessary (whether due to the features of the premises, the activity carried on there, any hazard present or any other relevant circumstances) in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons:
(a)emergency routes and exits must lead as directly as possible to a place of safety;
(b)in the event of danger, it must be possible for persons to evacuate the premises as quickly and as safely as possible;
(c)the number, distribution and dimensions of emergency routes and exits must be adequate having regard to the use, equipment and dimensions of the premises and the maximum number of persons who may be present there at any one time;
(d)emergency doors must open in the direction of escape;
(e)sliding or revolving doors must not be used for exits specifically intended as emergency exits;
(f)emergency doors must not be so locked or fastened that they cannot be easily and immediately opened by any person who may require to use them in an emergency;
(g)emergency routes and exits must be indicated by signs; and
(h)emergency routes and exits requiring illumination must be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting.
A light fitting ‘luminaire’ designated as ‘emergency’ type will be permanently connected to the lighting electrical supply even if the light is not used for general lighting (Non-Maintained) type, if the light is used for general lighting (maintained) type.
Emergency luminaires have integral batteries as backup power sources. The backup batteries can power the luminaire for the duration stated on the label, (most common emergency lights are made to last 3 hours). It can be easy to identify which lights are emergency by the presence of a green LED somewhere visible on the luminaire. Older luminaires may have red LEDS.
Emergency lights rely on battery cells to provide vital illumination in the event of power failure in an emergency. Batteries have a finite life and need to be checked as does the circuitry in the luminaire that tells the light to switch on when the power goes off. BS5266 states that all luminaires should have a ‘duration’ test every 12 months, this test should be for the duration as prescribed by the luminaire manufacturer, most modern emergency lights with be 3-hour duration. The luminaries should continue to provide the designed level of illumination on the escape route for the duration of the test, if they don’t then remedial action needs to be taken, usually changing lamps, batteries or control equipment. In most cases it is more prudent to change the whole fitting. These works should be carried out by a competent person/company, as these lights are generally connected to the building mains wiring, a NIC/EIC approved contractor should be employed
As the building owner/manager/user you should carry out a ‘flick’ test every month. This should consist of flicking the emergency test switch on and then off again. If the emergency light comes on it’s a pass, if it doesn’t then you should call your maintenance company. These tests should be recorded in your fire alarm log book.
You also need to arrange for a full duration test once every twelve months, this should be done by a competent* person/company and a record of this test kept in your fire alarm log book.
The quick answer to this question is on the escape route, but there are other places where emergency lighting is essential. For example, there should be an emergency light above your fire alarm control panel and at each change of direction on your escape route. The best way to ensure you have a compliant system is to employ a BAFE approved company such as CCSS Ltd to carry out a survey