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Emergency Lighting - Safety Begins with Compliance

Your Safe Escape

Tomorrow:  Your Reward for Working Safely Today

Unplanned power cuts can instantly plunge you into darkness, Emergency Lighting is essential to illuminate your safe exit route under these conditions.  In the event that power supplies are down and you find you and your staff in an emergency situation, such as a fire, your emergency lighting should kick in to provide suitable illumination so that people can evacuate the premises safely.  As part of health and safety protocol, employers are required to carry out Periodic Inspection and Testing of their emergency lighting in accordance with the requirements of  BS 5266-1:2016 which our electricians can carry out for you and advise you if any improvements are required to make the installation safer, too.

Emergency Lighting is basically comprised of three parts:

  • Emergency escape lighting – Provides illumination which lights the way for the safety of people evacuating a location.
  • Standby lighting – Provides emergency lighting under emergency conditions to enable people to escape safely.
  • Escape route lighting – Clearly identifies means of safe and effective escape whilst location is occupied.

Our Emergency Lighting guarantees:

  • Experienced, fully qualified NICEIC electricians to ensure expertise.
  • Testing in accordance with the requirements of BS 5266-1:2016
  • Emergency Lighting Logbook
  • An easy-to-read typed format – not illegible, handwritten reports!
  • We are SAFEcontractor-accredited and a registered member of NICEIC and the Government Standard Trustmark. The NICEIC is the leading electrical regulatory body in the UK ensuring quality by regularly assessing its members.
  • All our electricians are smartly turned out in ACtest uniform and strive to work in harmony with our clients!


If you would like an Emergency Lighting Periodic Inspection or Emergency Lighting installation quotation, please complete the quotation form or call 0203 5815729 and we will be happy to assist you.



Emergency Lighting is your friend!


Nightmare Scenario

What is emergency lighting?  This is a question that was posed by a tenant in a building that ACtest was surveying recently.  In order to explain and describe how imperative and important emergency lighting is, it is probably best to set a nightmarish scene of what could happen without emergency lighting in place.


Firstly, imagine that you are happily working in your place of business, firing of a series of emails as you have a deadline to reach.  Unbeknownst to you, a blazing fire in the basement (started by a partially lit cigarette butt) has created a power outage.


Without warning, you are suddenly plunged into the depths of pitch-black darkness.  The panic mount and then fire alarm sounds continuously.  The heart races wildly.  The screams of colleagues pierce the emptiness and the sound of galloping feet feel as if they are heading towards you like a stampede.  The thick plumes of smoke are like wily shapeshifters as they find their way into your office through every crevice, growing in size.  An acrid, bitter taste enters your mouth and you find yourself coughing incessantly.  You scramble and stumble in the dark, trying to reach out for a fire extinguisher but to no avail.  It becomes apparent that the frenzy will not abate and no light will penetrate the darkness and restore calm.  Your only hope is that the fire services make their way to you soon.


This worst-case scenario is a chilling example of danger, darkness and panic that could happen without emergency lighting.  Emergency lighting is a mandatory system of back-up illumination which, in the event of a disruption of the electrical supplies, such as a fire outbreak or power cut, emergency lighting will automatically be activated and facilitate the safe exit of occupants in a building. Some Emergency lights contain their own integrated back-up battery supplies which are continuously charged.  Should a disruption to main power or lighting circuit occur, the luminaires will illuminate for approximately three hours to assist safe evacuation.  UK legislation demands that all commercial, occupied buildings have sufficient illumination (minimum of one lux) to enable people to vacate safely in an emergency situation.


Failing to Comply

Not only is functional emergency lighting a legal requirement, it is also the moral, right thing to do. On the 26th April, 2007, the New Look flagship store in Oxford Street, London, was singled out in the news for safety management incompetence as the branch did not deliver in terms of its risk assessment and training to staff; it had inadequate emergency exits (fire door mechanisms fitted to the wrong side of the doors); and failed to follow fire alarm protocols.


According to an eyewitness, who was a shopper present at the time said the fire alarm went off “intermittently”.  For some time since the alarm sounded, shoppers were allowed to continue their shopping and it was only when passers-by alerted those inside and smoke emerged from within, that evacuation happened.


The company was ordered to pay a record fine of £400,000 for fire safety breaches.  In the words of the presiding Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC, it could have been “a disaster almost too awful to contemplate”.  Miraculously, despite shattered windows, falling shards and enveloping thick smoke, no one was harmed.


Essential Self-evaluation

To conclude, I would like to leave you with two vital questions: Do you have fully functioning emergency lights? Is your emergency lighting up to scratch?  Failure to comply could result in human tragedy.  At ACtest, we are happy to collaborate with you in order to find solutions and help you manage risk successfully.



Emergency Lighting Decisions for Responsible Persons

If you’re a residential director or designated Health and Safety person, you should be aware that emergency lighting is a legal requirement in your premises or communal areas. It is of paramount importance when it comes to the safety of your occupants. The Grenfell tragedy is a horrific and shameful reminder that it essential for directors, councils and management teams to do all they can to ensure that health and safety is a top priority.

Do you need an emergency lighting makeover?

If your property needs an emergency lighting makeover, it may be best for you to first collaborate with a fire risk expert in order to start to make appropriate decisions regarding the type and size of the system required. Your electrical contractor will be able to assist with design and installation of your Emergency Lighting system too including the need and placement of signage, types of signage and points of emphasis (direction changes, final exits etc), optimum locations for the emergency units (internal and external) and the type of power supply.

Key points to consider

Deciding on where to position lighting signs and units requires careful planning in order to avoid needless, distressing confusion in the event of an emergency.


Furthermore, the provision of firefighting gear (such as fire extinguishers, blankets, fire alarm points) should be well-lit and within easy reach.

The potential for failure of safe evacuation is greatest where there are different levels and intersections; therefore, special attention needs to be paid to stairwells, toilets (over 8m2) and each floor. Furthermore, as part of your safety culture, exits must be kept clear and unobstructed.

LED lighting signs should be carefully positioned to illuminate clear exit routes that will result in quick and efficient evacuation from the premises.  Where the exit is not within immediate reach, a visible, non-illuminated sign can be strategically placed so that it leads to illumination and direct exit points. The best practice, however, is to use illuminated signs as far as practicable.


Maintained or non-maintained?

There are two modes of operation: maintained or non-maintained.


When you’re out and about, you probably, subconsciously, notice emergency luminaires; however, you probably will not notice maintained emergency lighting as these emergency lights blend in seamlessly with the rest of the lighting and remain illuminated continuously. If there is a power cut, the emergency lighting kicks in, albeit at a lower lux level, and provides illumination.


These are the emergency lighting bulkhead we’re used to seeing.  The lights are not continuously illuminated but are forever on battery charge.  If there is a disruption to power, the emergency lights are automatically switched on.


What are the pros and cons of LED emergency lighting?


  • LED emergency lighting is energy-efficient.
  • If units become dim due to deadening of batteries, normally, the batteries themselves can be replaced rather than the whole unit which saves money.
  • Simple to monitor effectiveness as each luminaire can be numbered and recorded for ease of testing by way of a checklist. If an emergency unit fails, this will enable others to report broken/damaged emergency lights – after all, health and safety is everyone’s responsibility.


  • Exposure to unhealthy damp or temperature extremes can adversely affect the operation of the unit. In order to further maximise the life of emergency lighting, keep them clean and free of damage and sudden rising and plummeting temperatures or, if this cannot be avoided, an appropriate ‘weatherproof’ unit should be selected.
  • Testing requires isolation; however, this can be easily mitigated as ACtest is happy to provide a comprehensive testing service for you.


Decisions, decisions…



In our ACtest’s experience, the majority of our customers prefer to install LED emergency lighting systems and there is no sign of their popularity abating as they are aesthetically pleasing, greener, cheaper and flexible.


Hopefully, the information contained above will provide you with the initial information you require to make informed choices regarding your emergency lighting.