EMERGENCY LIGHT TESTING

You may be wondering if you need an emergency lighting test or service.  Well, UK fire safety legislation stipulates that emergency lighting must undergo a full test once a year, and be ‘flick-tested’ at least once a month.

The main purpose of this kind of lighting is to illuminate escape routes, although it also allows occupants to find fire-fighting equipment if there’s a fire.

Emergency lighting is usually powered by rechargeable batteries that self-charge from the mains power or other power source.  The lights, known as ‘luminaries’, are either on constantly (‘maintained’) or are triggered by an interruption in the main power supply (‘non-maintained’).

An emergency lighting test checks that your emergency lighting system and luminaries are in full working order up to the stipulated British Standard by simulating a mains power cut.

The minimum permitted duration of an emergency escape lighting system is 1 hour and so your annual emergency lighting test will check that all of your lights turn on and stay on for at least 60 minutes and for as long as 3 hours, depending on the type of batteries you are using.

Our industry-approved emergency lighting engineers can carry out both 1 hour and 3 hour tests and carry most types of battery, lighting tube and light fittings on their vans so that they can quickly fix any issues during your emergency lighting test without needing a return visit.

They will also record all findings in your log book and leave you on site with the relevant legal documentation.

MONTHLY TESTING

The purpose of the monthly test is to briefly check that all luminaries are in place, working and clean.  This test can be carried out by you or a member of your team, as long as they follow the correct procedures.

How to test emergency lighting on one circuit, or a number of large circuits:

  • Simulate a mains failure (usually with an emergency lighting test-key supplied by your fire safety provider)

  • Walk around the circuit checking that every emergency light is illuminated

  • Switch the mains lighting back on

  • Walk around the circuit for a second time to check that all batteries are charging

  • The test should be carried out in as short a time as possible to preserve the light fittings and batteries

If your emergency lights work individually, each with its own switch, then you will only need to walk around the circuit once as you will be able to test both that the light works and that the battery is charging in one go.

Once you’ve carried out your emergency lighting test you must:

  • Record the test in your log-book

  • Make a note of any failures

  • Arrange repairs as soon as possible

Because an emergency lighting test requires switching off the main lights circuit (to simulate a power cut), it can be disruptive for some businesses so you may want to consider carrying out this test out of hours, perhaps at dusk so that it is easy to see if the emergency lights are illuminated.