Fire and Emeregency Lighting
People in your premises must be able to find their way to a place of total safety
if there is a fire by using escape routes that have enough lighting. Where any
escape routes are internal and without windows, or your premises are used during periods of darkness, including early darkness on winter days, then some form of backup to the normal escape route lighting (emergency escape lighting) is likely to be required.
In small premises, where the escape routes are simple and straightforward, borrowed lighting, e.g. from street lamps where they illuminate escape routes, may be acceptable.( Refer to the fire risk assessment).
Where borrowed lighting is not available, suitably placed torches may be acceptable for use by trained staff.
In larger, more complex premises it is likely that a more comprehensive system
of electrical automatic emergency escape lighting will be needed to illuminate all the escape routes
Where people have difficulty seeing conventional signs, a ‘way-guidance’ system may need to be considered.
Type of system
Most emergency lighting schemes fall into one of the following categories:-
· Non-maintained – The emergency light units only illuminate in the event of a mains failure.
· Maintained – The emergency light units are illuminated at all times using the same lamps for both normal and emergency operation.
· Sustained – The emergency light units are fitted with two lamps or two sets of lamps. One of which operates on mains 240V AC supply, the other which operates from the battery supply in the event of mains failure. It is basically a non-maintained system with the addition of mains lamps which should be illuminated whenever the premises are occupied.
The type of system and emergency duration is often expressed in abbreviated form as per the following examples:-
· M3 – Maintained System, emergency duration 3 hours.
· NM2 – Non-maintained System, emergency duration 2 hours.
· S1 – Sustained System, emergency duration 1 hour.
An emergency luminaire will either be of the self-contained type, i.e. with all components integral to the luminaire body (battery, charging circuit, mains ballast etc). Or “slave” to a central battery system where only the lamp (and an inverter if fluorescent) is located within the luminaire body and the supply on power failure is fed from some centralised point.
The majority of systems installed in the United Kingdom are of the self-contained type, but both options have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Areas to be covered
There is legislation, guides, British and European standards that require emergency lighting to be installed and the ares it should cover. An emergency escape lighting system should normally cover the following ares,
· each exit door;
· escape routes;
· intersections of corridors;
· outside each final exit and on external escape routes;
· emergency escape signs;
· stairways so that each flight receives adequate light;
· changes in floor level;
· windowless rooms and toilet accommodation exceeding 8m2;
· firefighting equipment;
· fire alarm call points;
· equipment that would need to be shut down in an emergency;
· lifts and areas in premises greater than 60m2.
It is not necessary to provide individual lights (luminaire) for each item above, but there should be a sufficient overall level of light to allow them to be visible and usable.
A thorough Fire Risk assessment will make sure you comply with the fire regulations
More info on fire safety training
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