Why Do I Need Emergency Lighting?

If you own, run or manage any kind of commercial, industrial or public building, it’s essential you have the appropriate fire safety mitigations in place.

In addition to firefighting equipment such as extinguishers and alarms, emergency lighting is another extremely important safety measure that your organisation should have in place. 

At Millennium Fire Protection, we’ve spent many years providing leading emergency lighting services to customers across Harrow, Ealing and Watford.  

In this article, we’ll explore why you need emergency lighting, as well as how you can ensure it remains in the best condition.   

What is the purpose of emergency lighting?

Sometimes, when a fire occurs, a building can lose power. But with emergency lighting in place, lights will be triggered to help people see and indicate where the nearest exit points are located. This ensures occupants remain calm and can evacuate the building in a swift and safe manner. 

As well as providing people with a light source, emergency lighting can also show where exits and safety equipment are located. 

Perhaps the most famous example of this is the ‘green man’ pictogram which has become the universal fire exit symbol. Initially created in Japan for a fire safety competition in the 1970s, this sign has become used for fire exits around the world and is commonplace in cinemas, offices, shopping centres and a whole host of other public buildings. 

Not only can emergency lighting keep you safe, but if a non-fire related blackout occurs it ensures you continue your day-to-day operations without much downtime- helping save you money.

Furthermore, having these measures installed will provide you with an emergency lighting certificate that ensures you remain compliant with your legal responsibilities.

This leads us nicely to emergency lighting regulations…  

 Emergency lighting regulations 

According to British Standard 5266-1, it is mandatory for emergency lighting to be installed in all commercial premises. This legislation states that all hospitals, schools, offices, shops and multi-storey buildings must have emergency lighting installed and properly maintained.

If you ignore this or the lighting has not been appropriately looked after, meaning it does not work correctly if a fire occurs, the consequences can be severe. Primarily, any evacuation from the premises could be compromised- risking the lives of all within it.

In fact, the legal ramifications are severe and can include six-figure fines and prison time in cases of extreme negligence. 

Most insurers are also unlikely to pay out if you do not have the correct fire safety measures in place.

How often should emergency lighting be tested?

It’s not enough to simply have emergency lighting in place.

To fully comply with your legal responsibilities and keep those within the premises safe, emergency lighting testing is necessary. 

The regularity of this testing will vary depending on the type of systems you have in place, but as a rule of thumb, you should test your lighting at least once a month with a ‘full duration’ test occurring each year.

At Millennium Fire Protection, we provide our clients with comprehensive emergency lighting services. This includes installing products that ensure people on your premises can easily locate evacuation routes, as well as carrying out emergency lighting maintenance for your peace of mind. To find out more about what we do, get in touch with our team today.