Guide to Emergency Lighting

Emergency lighting is a broad, multi-layered subject involving all parts of a project team. Correctly specified emergency lighting is not just a couple of well placed emergency light fittings and exit signs. There are many elements necessary for achieving correct and compliant emergency lighting system. We've written a guide on everything you need to know to get the best emergency lighting in 2024.


Contents. illuminated emergency sign

  • Importance of Emergency Lighting

  • Emergency lighting regulations

  • Types of Emergency Lighting

  • Emergency Lighting Design

  • Emergency Lighting Testing

  • Maintained or Non maintained

  • Self test Emergency Lighting

  • Emergency Lighting Products




Importance of emergency lighting.


Emergency lighting plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals in commercial buildings. During an emergency situation, such as a power cut or fire, normal lighting systems may fail, leading to a potentially dangerous situation. Emergency lighting provides a reliable source of illumination, allowing people to safely navigate through buildings and evacuate if necessary.

In addition to providing visibility, it also helps emergency responders perform their duties effectively. It enables them to quickly assess the situation, locate individuals in need of assistance, and carry out necessary actions. Without proper emergency lighting, rescue operations could be hindered, putting lives at risk.



Legal regulations in the UK commercial building market.


Emergency lighting is required by law in many countries, including the UK. Compliance with emergency lighting regulations is essential for commercial buildings to obtain necessary certifications and ensure the safety of occupants.

In the UK, emergency lighting is subject to specific regulations and standards.

The main regulatory framework governing emergency lighting in the UK are:

It is essential for building owners, facility managers and specifiers to familiarize themselves with these regulations and standards to ensure compliance and the safety of occupants.



Types of emergency lighting.


Emergency lighting systems consist of various types of luminaires that are designed to provide illumination during an emergency situation. These often cause a confusion. The most common way of classifying LED emergency lighting is by operation type and battery system, but there are other factors that affect the types of EM lighting.

  • Battery type (central battery system or self contained emergency lighting)

  • Operation type ( maintained lighting or non-maintained emergency lighting)

  • Integration type (standalone or integrated emergency lighting)

  • Style of reporting ( basic, self-test, DALI 2, proprietary systems)

  • Location of use: Depending where they are being used (according to BS EN 1838), the main two types of emergency lighting luminaires are: Emergency escape lighting and Standby lighting.

Emergency lighting BS EN 1838-1


- Escape Route Lighting is used to illuminate escape routes, such as corridors, stairways, and exits. It ensures that individuals can safely navigate towards exits and evacuate the building.

- Open area lighting is used to provide general illumination in large spaces, such as open-plan offices, warehouses, or assembly areas. It helps maintain visibility and assists with emergency response activities.

- High-Risk Task Area Lighting: In certain environments where high-risk tasks are performed, such as laboratories or industrial settings, specific lighting may be required to ensure the safe completion of these tasks during an emergency.

- Standby lighting is designed to provide temporary illumination in areas where occupants may need to remain during an emergency, such as refuge areas or designated safe zones.

Each type of emergency lighting serves a specific purpose and contributes to the overall effectiveness of the emergency lighting system.



Emergency lighting design.


Effective emergency lighting design is crucial to ensure the proper functioning of the system during an emergency. It involves considering factors such as the layout of the building, the specific needs of the occupants, and the requirements outlined in the regulations and standards.

During the design phase, a thorough assessment of the building's exit routes and open areas is conducted to determine the placement and coverage of emergency luminaires. The design should consider factors such as the required lux levels, the duration of emergency lighting operation, and the type of luminaires to be used.

It is recommended to consult with a qualified professional or lighting designer to ensure that the emergency lighting design meets all the necessary requirements and provides adequate illumination for safe evacuation and emergency response.


provost stairs emergency exit bellart suspendedEmergency luminare layout diagram


Testing procedure and standards.


Regular testing and maintenance of emergency lighting systems are a legal requirement. Testing procedures may vary depending on the type of emergency lighting system and the specific requirements outlined in the regulations and standards.

It is important to keep detailed records (log book) of all testing and maintenance activities, including the date, results, and any corrective actions taken. These records serve as evidence of compliance and can be requested by regulatory authorities during inspections or audits.

Building owners and facility managers should refer to the specific regulations and standards applicable to their region and industry to ensure they are following the correct testing procedures.

Learn more about emergency lighting testing.


Battery life and warranty.


The battery life of emergency lighting systems is a critical factor in ensuring their reliability during emergencies. Emergency light batteries should be regularly inspected, tested, and maintained to ensure their optimal performance.

When specifying emergency lighting it is advisable to pay attention to information like battery life and manufacturer's warranty.

All 299 Lighting emergency lighting products come with an impressive 4 year warranty to give you total peace of mind and value for money.



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Specifying emergency lighting.


In our range, you will find the most common fittings required for commercial properties like emergency bulkhead light, emergency lighting spotlights and emergency exit lights.

Carefully selected, they are all made in the UK, compliant with British standard and supported with data sheets. All of our products are also supported with LDT files, spacing information and options for testing.





Emergency lightingmailout graphic



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