Emergency Lighting – What is it?

Emergency lighting is an essential requirement for all commercial and industrial environments and an installation that we all take for granted. In case of an emergency, this lighting can be the difference between life and death so it is essential that it is installed and maintainedcorrectly.


Following the tragic events this year, hundreds of residential tower blocks across England are being checked for fire safety flaws such as sprinkler system and emergency lighting. In the first month of a recent investigation, 71 tower blocks were suffering from a lack or deficiency of emergency lighting in stairwells or communal areas, which could hamper the escape of tenants. Never has there been so much pressure on the deliberations of specifiers, building owners and suppliers at the Emergency Lighting. It is more important than ever to ensure than your workplace has adequate and working lighting in case of an emergency situation. The correct positioning of exit signage and emergency lighting is essential to saving lives.


Legislation requires all occupied buildings to have adequate escape lighting to allow safe exit should mains power fail. Escape and exit routes in the UK must be lit to a minimum of one lux when required. Where as high tasks areas must be lit by a minimum of 10% of normal lighting. Emergency luminaires have integral back-up batteries, – continuously charged during normal operation. Should the power fail the back-up batteries will power the luminaire for a minimum of 3 hours. Emergency light output is approx. 10% of normal levels. Every emergency luminaire must have a green LED indicator to show it is charged and functional. Under the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 & BS5266 part 1 – building owners are required to test emergency lighting systems regularly and maintain them in proper working order.

Most buildings nowadays incorporate sophisticated emergency lighting fixtures installed during construction; the design of equipment being chosen by the architect as per the current local authority requirements as well as Building Regulations. Emergency lighting is a general term and is sub-divided into emergency escape lighting and standby lighting. Emergency escape lighting provides illumination for the safety of people leaving a location or attempting to terminate a potentially dangerous process beforehand. Whereas standby lighting enables normal activities to continue without disruption.

Emergency escape lighting sub-divides again into escape route lighting, open area lighting and high risk task area lighting. Escape route lighting ensures that the means of escape can be effectively identified and safely used by occupants of the building. Open area lighting (in some countries known as anti-panic lighting) is provided to minimise panic and ensure there is sufficient illumination to allow the occupants of a building to reach a place where an escape route can be identified. For people in a potentially dangerous process or situation high risk task lighting is essential to enabling proper shut down procedures for the safety of the operator and other occupants.

Please contact the team at AYS System for any guidance on emergency lighting regulations, our team would be happy to help you.


AYS System profound knowledge about the electrical wiring system and re-wiring has made us the ultimate certified electrical system service providers in London. Our team of electrical professionals holds years of experience and expertise to accomplish any project, irrespective of its complexity. 

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