Emergency Lighting: What Do You Need to Know?
What are the different types of emergency lighting?
There are four different types of emergency lighting that you may require within your business.
- Escape route lighting. This is probably the most important and commonly used emergency lighting. And as the name implies, it illuminates fire escape routes and emergency exits.
- Anti-panic lighting. Also known as open area emergency lighting, these lights are installed in open areas within a building, providing enough illumination to allow people to work out where they are, should an emergency happen.
- High-risk task area lighting. This won’t be relevant to some businesses. But if you operate a space where employees carry out high-risk tasks – using machinery, tools, or other potentially risky equipment – in the event of an emergency, this lighting will keep the workspace properly lit for long enough for everyone to safely leave their workstations and exit the building.
- Standby lighting. Although not a legal requirement, standby lighting can be really beneficial for businesses, especially those with internal workspaces without window access. If you ever have a power cut for any reason, this lighting will kick in.
Where should emergency lighting be used?
The effective deployment of emergency lighting can literally make the difference between life and death. So, it’s really important that you not only provide emergency lighting within your business. But site it correctly too. Because poor lighting placement can be as dangerous as not using emergency lights at all.
These are the key points to consider when planning your emergency lighting strategy.
Exits and escape routes – Emergency lighting and signage should be used to clearly identify escape routes and guide occupants towards exits. If the primary exit is not obvious, you are legally obliged to provide an illuminated emergency exit sign instead of simply using the emergency lighting luminaire.
Areas that may be difficult to traverse in the dark – This should include all levels of all stairwells, and anywhere that the floor level changes within your business. Corridor intersections, and at any point that your emergency escape route moves in a different direction. Anywhere identified as posing a potential hazard in your fire risk assessment. And toilets larger than 8m².
How far apart should emergency lighting be placed?
The spacing of your emergency lights will depend on the brand. Good manufacturers of luminaires will provide you with a guide detailing the optimum placement for your lights. But if you are at all uncertain, it’s always a good idea to seek the help of a fire protection specialist.