When designing any building space, emergency lighting is essential. The right lighting design can help save lives in the event of a fire or emergency that requires all people to evacuate the building. Poorly designed emergency lighting could leave people lost and vulnerable. In this article, we take a look at the purpose and importance of emergency lighting in various settings.
What is emergency lighting?
Emergency lighting is in place in case of a failure of the electrics, which results in the usual lighting turning off. This could happen in several situations, for example, a fire, accident or power cut. The emergency lighting will help illuminate the building so the occupants can see and get out of the building safely. This lighting will automatically come on if there are any issues with the usual lighting. The lights are in place to prevent panic and to show people the nearest exit out of the building. Emergency lighting is a legal requirement in the UK; it must stay on for three hours when the main power goes out for buildings where people are sleeping or one hour for buildings where people aren’t sleeping.
Types of emergency lighting
There are two main types of emergency lighting; each has its own purpose. Maintained emergency lighting works the same way as the standard lighting, but a battery input is used if the mains power fails. These lights can be programmed to give you more flexibility, but the systems are more costly than the alternative option. In addition, maintained emergency lighting can be left on all the time and operated with a switch, such as in a cinema, to avoid total darkness. Non-maintained emergency lighting only comes on when a power cut is detected and typically illuminates the exits of a building only. This lighting system is less expensive than maintained emergency lighting but has less flexibility.
LED emergency lighting
Many businesses are now using LED lighting for emergency lights instead of standard bulbs. They last longer, so they don’t need to be replaced as frequently; they’re cheaper to run and better for the environment. In addition, during an emergency time is critical, LED lights come on instantly and don’t need time to warm up, unlike other types of emergency lighting.
Where do you need emergency lighting?
Every building is different and will have different emergency lighting requirements. Building managers should use emergency lighting design professionals to review the building and the exits and make recommendations about the emergency lighting that’s needed on the premises. If a building is occupied at night, then additional emergency lighting is needed across all areas of the building. Some areas that require emergency lighting include all doors and exits, stairways, escape routes, large windowless rooms, lifts, and near emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers and fire alarm gathering points. There are also many others that can be advised as part of an emergency lighting design plan.
What’s the purpose of emergency lighting?
Emergency lighting is in place to help people in the event of a power cut or another emergency that cuts the standard operating lights. It is in place to illuminate emergency exits and escape routes as well as emergency equipment that might be needed, such as fire-fighting equipment. Emergency lighting can help save lives, as it gets people out of the building safely and quickly and prevents them from falling or tripping over obstacles in their path.
What is borrowed lighting?
Emergency lighting plans sometimes utilise borrowed lighting from other reliable sources, such as street lights. This reduces the amount of emergency lighting needed in the building. Any borrowed lighting needs to be available at all times, such as street lights that are directly outside a building.
Emergency lighting is a legal requirement in many buildings to ensure that the people in the building can escape in the event of an emergency. If you’re unsure about whether you need emergency lighting or if your emergency lighting is sufficient, you should get in touch with an expert in this field. They will be able to ensure that your building is covered and all necessary lights are installed to protect the occupants of the building.