A frequent question we receive at Realm Fire & Security concerns emergency lighting requirements and the testing regimes which should be in place. Some customers are concerned they are not doing enough to ensure compliance whilst others wonder if they are going over and above what is required. To help provide a degree of clarification as regards to these issues we have decided to put together a short reference guide which summarises current guidance in this area.
Regular servicing and periodic maintenance of emergency lighting is essential. The occupier/owner of a building must employ a competent person to supervise the servicing of the system. In most cases outside contractors are used to maintain the emergency lighting on their behalf.
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Under the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006; article 16 states the person with duties under section 53 or 54, (the duty holder), is responsible for ensuring that emergency lighting is maintained in working order through the implementation of a suitable maintenance schedule.
While the frequency of testing and maintenance can be determined through a specific risk assessment, it is usual that this will involve monthly testing carried out by a competent employee, and a full annual maintenance and discharge test carried out by a qualified third-party contractor.
British Standard BS5266 is the official guidance document covering emergency lighting, with Part 1, and Part 8, specifically dealing with maintenance and servicing.
Below is a summary of the guidance regarding the testing of emergency lighting. The British Standard is not a legal requirement in itself; however, it provides a benchmark from which the fire authorities and other enforcing authorities can work. In order to demonstrate compliance and ‘due diligence’ alternative testing arrangements can be put in place so long as they are equivalent to or better than those outlined under the British Standard concerned.
The Standards specifies the locations where luminaries must be provided as:
The following locations are not part of the escape route but because of their risk they require protection by emergency lighting.
Although only in exceptional circumstances will they be part of the escape route, they present a problem in that the public may be trapped in them in the event of an electrical supply failure.
All toilets for the disabled and facilities exceeding 8m² floor area.
To enable users to get off them safely.
Covered car parks
the normal pedestrian routes should be provided with non-maintained luminaries.
Motor generator, control or plant rooms
These require battery supplied emergency lighting to assist any maintenance or operating personnel in the event of failure.
Maximum Viewing Distances
For all format of safety signs the maximum viewing distances and luminance conditions are given in BS 5266 pt7/EN 1838. Signs can be either internally illuminated, such as exit boxes or edge lit emergency luminaries with a screened sign that have a controlled luminance, or painted signs with an external emergency light illuminating them. Maximum viewing distances are: