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Emergency Lighting Maintenance

Emergency Light Testing

To ensure emergency lighting is operational, maintenance needs to be carried out by a professional. This is required in line with BS 5266-1 in which they recommend this to be carried out annually.

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Why You Need Emergency Lighting Maintenance

The emergency lighting system must be serviceable to ensure means of escape and escape routes are visible in an emergency or as a backup when the primary lighting fails. To safeguard people and prevent life, the responsible person has a statutory duty of care to ensure a “suitable system of maintenance” is in place.

Emergency Light Testing
Emergency Lighting Checklist

Emergency Lighting Maintenance Checklist

How to test emergency lighting on one circuit or several large circuits:

  • Simulate a mains failure (usually with an emergency lighting test key supplied by your fire safety provider)
  • Walk around the circuit, checking that every emergency light is illuminated.
  • Switch the mains lighting back on.
  • Walk around the circuit for a second time to check that all batteries are charging.
  • The test should be carried out as quickly as possible to preserve the light fittings and batteries.
  • If your emergency lights work individually, each with its own switch, then you will only need to walk around the circuit once as you will be able to test both that the light works and that the battery is charging in one go.

Once you’ve carried out your emergency lighting test, you must:

  • Record the emergency lighting test in your log-book.
  • Make a note of any failures.
  • Arrange emergency light repairs as soon as possible.
  • Because an emergency lighting test requires switching off the primary lights circuit (to simulate a power cut), it can be disruptive for some businesses. To avoid as much disturbance as possible, you may want to consider completing this test out of hours, perhaps at dusk, so the emergency lights can be easily identified.

We recommend that a fire safety professional carries out your annual test. Otherwise, you risk breaching UK fire safety regulations which can bring tough penalties.

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Emergency Lighting Regulations 2020 UK
Emergency Lighting Regulations

Current UK emergency lighting regulations state that all business premises must have ‘an appropriate ‘emergency lighting system‘. If the emergency lighting system is not adequately serviced and maintained, then it may not work as designed in the event of a fire, putting lives and property at risk. 

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BS EN 50172 / BS 5266-8 (Emergency escape lighting systems) highlights the minimum provision and testing of emergency lighting required for different premises. BS 5266-1: (Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises) provides further information on emergency lighting servicing.
Discharge testing must be completed outside regular working hours. Phasing the test to ensure that only alternate luminaires are tested is a requirement in any permanently closed buildings.

Regular servicing is a legal requirement. A competent person must be appointed by the owner/occupier of the premises to supervise the servicing of the system, ensuring the necessary works are carried out to maintain the system to the correct operational mode.

All full duration tests, where possible, must be complete before a time of low risk so the battery can recharge. The reason is that there is a possibility the standard lighting supply will fail soon after the testing of the emergency lighting or during the subsequent period of recharge. If this is not possible, an appropriate temporary arrangement must be in place until the batteries have recharged.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Illuminating of all fire escapes. It is a portion of the fire safety provision of a building and a requirement of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Fire Safety Regulations
Emergency Lighting Test
Daily Emergency Lighting Tests

Daily checks only apply to emergency lighting systems with a central backup battery system. The daily emergency lighting checks include a visual inspection of any indicators on the central power supply, identifying that the system is fully operational. However, carrying out a test of operation is not required. The daily tests are not required for standard emergency lighting with a self-contained backup battery in each unit.

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Emergency Lighting Test
Monthly Emergency Lighting Tests

Monthly testing is a requirement for all emergency lighting systems. Per BS EN 50172 / BS EN 5266-8, it is a short functional test.
The duration of simulated failure needs to be adequate for the test whilst keeping damage to the components of the system to a minimum (lamps etc.). All signs and luminaries should be checked during this period, ensuring they are present, fully functional, and clean.

Emergency Lighting Test
Annual Emergency Lighting Tests

The total duration of the emergency lights, usually three hours, must be tested, and the emergency light must still be working once the test is carried out. All monthly and annual tests must be recorded, and if any failures or faults are detected, they must be corrected as soon as possible. Competent and certified fire safety companies like ClearView will typically conduct annual emergency lighting ‘drain’ tests while completing the fire alarm system maintenance.

Your annual emergency lighting test takes the same form as the monthly test, with the difference that it should last for either 1 hour or 3 hours, depending on the type of batteries you have in your system.

It’s called a ‘full discharge’ test, which tests that your batteries last as long as they should and meet the minimum legal requirement. Any failed batteries or lighting tubes should be replaced as quickly as possible following the test, and any more serious faults should be immediately investigated.

If your emergency lighting needs testing, get in touch with our friendly team today for prices and book an appointment.

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