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Emergency lighting is essential to ensure the safety of staff and customers when the normal light source fails or the building experiences a power outage. This is to provide sufficient illumination to allow people to negotiate obstacles and hazardous situations safely as they evacuate the premises. Emergency lighting is therefore usually operated through a battery that does not rely on the mains utility supply.

Emergency Lighting

Emergency lighting is essential to ensure the safety of staff and customers when the normal light source fails or the building experiences a power outage. This is to provide sufficient illumination to allow people to negotiate obstacles and hazardous situations safely as they evacuate the premises. Emergency lighting is therefore usually operated through a battery that does not rely on the mains utility supply.

In accordance with British Standards guidelines 5266-1:2011, many types of building have a legal requirement for emergency lighting to be installed, such as high occupancy dwellings, commercial and industrial properties, hotels, schools and hospitals etc.

All newly constructed buildings will comply with emergency lighting codes. However, older properties may have been built before the emergency lighting regulations were enforced and might therefore not comply with current standards. 

For example, inside buildings, emergency lighting should be installed in all common areas and in large open spaces. It should also illuminate escape routes, exit doors, fire call points and firefighting apparatus.

Types of emergency lighting systems


Most emergency lighting schemes fall into one of the following categories:

  • Non-maintained - The emergency light units are linked to the buildings lighting circuitry and only illuminate in the event of a mains failure. Emergency lighting duration - 3 hours.

  • Maintained - The emergency light units are illuminated at all times using the same lamps for both normal and emergency operation. Emergency lighting duration - 2 hours.

  • Sustained - The emergency light units are fitted with two lamps, one of which operates on mains supply, the other from a battery supply, triggered by a mains fail event. In essence, it is a non-maintained system with the addition of a mains lamp which illuminates when the premises are occupied. Emergency lighting duration - 1 hour.

There are different emergency lighting requirements for different types of building. Every building should be individually assessed and the appropriate emergency lighting scheme  developed to ensure compliance with current regulations. 

If you’re unsure whether you need emergency lighting or need assistance on your legal obligations in meeting the British safety standards, it’s always best to speak to an expert. 

Paul Anton have the technical expertise to offer practical advice and can supply, install and maintain a wide range of emergency lighting systems, fixtures and fittings, conversion kits or simply replacement lamps and batteries.

To find out more about our range of emergency lighting solutions or to arrange a site survey please get in touch with our team today. 

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