Emergency lighting solutions are meant to help people evacuate buildings in event of a disaster. Thus it is of utmost crucial to keep these lighting solutions in perfect working order. On the other hand, there is no way to deny that emergency lighting tests are critical.
You need highly trained, skilled, and knowledgeable electricians to shoulder the responsibility of maintenance of emergency lights. When experienced electricians take charge you can rest assured that your emergency lighting solutions are in sound health to function smoothly and are capable to perform their duty whenever needed. Moreover, when technically sound tradesmen look after emergency lighting maintenance, you know legal codes and regulations are not being violated.
The question is how often should your emergency lights be tested to ensure it functions smoothly any time whenever required? Let us see what tradesmen dealing in lighting installations in London have got to say over the matter.
At this stage of our discussion, we are likely to get into a few technical things. But that should not put you off. Once we are through you will have greater clarity on the matter to make informed decisions.
The BS 5266-1:2016 Code of Practice
The BS 5266-1:2016 is the updated version of the B 5266-1 standard. This is a code of practice to guide you on how to look after your emergency lighting solutions during their field life. Moreover, the code also reveals the functions that the lighting system is supposed to provide. The emergency lighting code is meant to ensure safety in circumstances when normal lighting fails or suffers an interruption.
What is the BS 5266-1:2016 Code of Practice meant for?
The particular standard or code is primarily meant for two groups of professionals:
- Electrical contractors and
- Lighting engineers
Even health safety professionals and owners of clinics, colleges, concert halls, covered car parks, day schools, boarding schools, care homes, cinemas, factories, guest houses, hospitals, hotels, laboratories, landlords, libraries, museums, public houses, restaurants, shops, sports and stadiums, theatres, workshops, and warehouses also should be aware of its content.
The BS 5266 1:2016 code facilitates an in-depth understanding of various types of emergency lighting solutions. One can easily use this code as guidance to understand how to apply different emergency lighting systems to different types of buildings or premises while catering to their unique needs at the same time.
The code also provides effective recommendations on designing, wiring, and installation of electrical emergency escape lighting solutions. This enables you to get the necessary light performance to move out people safely from a building in the circumstance of failure of normal lighting. This also covers the common routes to access built mostly in maisonettes or blocks of flats.
What are the changes in the latest version of the BS 5266 -1 Code of Practice?
To put it in simple words, the BS 5266 -1:2016 or the last updated version aligns the code of practice with the BS EN 1838:2013 European Emergency Lighting Luminous Requirement Specification Standard.
The revised and updated version:
- Deals with risky task fighting to provide light to people, who work in dangerous situations to enable shut down processes to ensure safety of the people within the premise
- Provides extensive guidance on required equipment
- Offers guidance on both practice and application of emergency lighting solutions
- At the same time it highlights risk assessments required for different premises
- It also expands the code to make room for references for new system developments
- Provides extensive guidance on lighting across swimming pool and swimming area
In addition to the factors mentioned above, it also adds guidance on commissioning, testing as well as installation processes.
Different types of emergency lighting
Various types of emergency lighting are available these days. You have to choose your product based on your requirements. It is relevant to mention that these products can be broadly categorized into two – maintained and non-maintained emergency lighting.
- Maintained emergency lighting
This variety works on any standard light fitting. Moreover, it can be connected as well as controlled along with your other lights. When there is power failure these lighting solutions keep working at a lower intensity. On the flip side, this variety requires sound maintenance.
- Non maintained emergency lighting
Usually, this variety of emergency lighting remains off. But there is a green LED display that tells the batteries are charged and the lighting solution is ready for action. In case of power failure, the system switches the battery supply on. However, this range of products does not connect to your standard lighting and these are mostly used as emergency exit signs.
There are few more varieties of these products that you easily come across in the market. Those include:
- Combined emergency lighting
This variety of emergency lighting comes with two or more lights. At least one of those draws power from a standard supply while the rest from the emergency lighting supply. This variety may come under both maintained and non-maintained categories of products.
- Emergency escape lighting
When a normal power supply fails, emergency escape lighting gets automatically powered on. The system provides sufficient light so that occupants can evacuate a building.
Emergency lighting system maintenance
You have to test and maintain your emergency lighting solution at regular intervals to ensure they are in a smooth working state. How often you have to maintain your lighting varies from system to system.
However, as a general guideline, you should follow these tips below:
Daily test for emergency lighting – Certified electricians dealing in emergency lighting wiring suggest checking for operations every day. Just a visual check for those illuminated neon indicator lamps is sufficient to ensure your emergency lighting is in sound health and ready for action. Monthly test – Apart from daily tests a quick monthly test provides further assurance that the item is ready to function at its peak level. This is actually a short functional test that is in accordance with BS EN 50172:2004 / BS 5266-8:2004. Make sure each of the emergency lights is powered on when you turn off the main switch of your electrical system. Make sure there is no dirt or dust accumulated over the casings. Restore power from the main power switch and see that the emergency lighting is charging up. Record everything in a logbook. If you notice any failure – big or small – fix it immediately.