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Emergency lighting


Emergency lighting is a requirement by law for all non-domestic premises and the common areas of Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs). When an emergency situation arises the mains power supply to a building may be cut and therefore normal lighting fails to provide direction to the nearest exit or life safety equipment (such as fire extinguishers, break glasses, distribution boards and fire alarm panels).

When the mains power to a building is cut the occupants may find themselves in sudden darkness which may lead to both physical danger and panic. An emergency light is a battery powered lighting device that switches on automatically when a building experiences a power outage. A series of emergency lights are therefore required to help the occupants of a building to remain safe whilst locating the nearest exit.

Who is responsible for ensuring a compliant emergency lighting system?

Building owner/managing agent

The legal basis of emergency lighting is essentially the same as that for fire regulations, in that the building owner/managing agent is the ‘responsible person’ as defined by the regulations. As such, they must ensure the correct provision and operation of the emergency lighting system including:

  • Appointing competent designers, installers, and maintainers.
  • Performing annual – and at significant change – risk assessments in line with the latest version of the emergency lighting standards.
  • Discharging his/her responsibilities under Fire Regulation Reform Order 2005.

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