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Emergi-Lite - Emergency Lighting

Emergency Lighting - Luminaires -Escape Route Emergi-Lite

Emergency lighting is vital to help people escape from a building. It must illuminate the escape route to a regulatory level and light clearly any essential fire equipment en route permitting safe evacuation.

ABB Emergi-Lite will now discuss requirements for designing emergency lighting systems.

Requirements & Standards

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, Statutory Instrument No. 1541 became law on 1st October 2006. ‘Fire Risk Assessment’ became the responsibility of the building owner, occupier/employer or user, superseding the previous Fire Certificate regime.

Originally the requirement for emergency lighting was set from the Fire Precautions Act 1971. This was further enforced by the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 and amended in 1999.

The Fire Safety Order and other related documents introduced the concept of ‘Risk Assessment’. Risk assessment is a multi-stage process, which guides the assessor or ‘competent person’ in identifying the risk and the need for fire precautions, to reducing those risks down to acceptable levels. In reducing those risks, the need for emergency lighting is established.

Once a decision is taken to install emergency lighting in premises, then BS 5266 Parts 1, 7, 8 & 10 should be followed. When designing a scheme, the luminaires should conform to the general product standard BS EN 60598-1 and standard BS EN 60598.2.22 for emergency luminaires. Central power supply systems should comply with BS EN 60598-1. Certified products show a compliance with good quality and safety.

Internally illuminated exit signs should also comply with the product standard. The format of the legends should comply as noted in the Exit Sign section below. An installer will have more confidence and be less at risk with the work performed, by using products certified to the product standard and marked with the approval of the national test house.

Certified and approved emergency lighting has an enhanced level of safety compared to general lighting, which is only required to be ‘safe in use’. ‘Safe in use’ in the general lighting context, means that it is neither an electric shock nor a fire hazard and that non-operation of the fitting would be an inconvenience. In the emergency sense ‘non-operation’ of an emergency luminaire is a safety hazard.

The Industry Committee for Emergency Lighting (ICEL) has a registration scheme for luminaires and conversion modules.

General Requirements for Emergency Lighting

BS 5266 Parts 1, 7, 8 & 10

Emergency lighting must:

  • Indicate the escape routes clearly with exit signs so there is no doubt which is the way out
  • Illuminate open areas used in an escape route so that obstacles such as equipment or furniture can be avoided
  • Ensure fire alarm call points and fire-fighting equipment are readily located
  • Provide illumination for high-risk areas to allow machinery processes to be shut down safely

Exit Signs

A designated escape route, or point leading to a route, must be clearly signed with the correct format of sign, positioned for unambiguity and with consideration for viewing distance constraints.

The pictogram formats to ISO7010 or to the European pictogram format signs, compliant with the Safety signs directive (SI341), or those to the BS 5499 format are currently acceptable in the UK.

Text only signs are not allowed and must be replaced. Exit signboards can be used, providing that an adjacent emergency luminaire illuminates the board adequately.

A more effective way of emphasising the way out is to use internally illuminated exit signs, such as the ABB Emergi-Lite Serenga 2, Guideway, Horizon, Silver-Lite, Silver-Scape, HyLED or Navigator ranges.

Escape Routes

It is essential that people can move safely along an escape route in an emergency. There are often minor hazards such as steps that should be illuminated. It is not unusual for an object (trolleys, boxes, suitcases) to be left on the escape route, in which case the lighting should be sufficient (a minimum of 1 Lux on the escape route) for people to see the obstruction and avoid it.

Open Areas

Where an escape route leads through an open area, then illumination of 0.5 Lux minimum should be provided.

Points of Emphasis

The following places have been identified at which emergency luminaires should be located near (within 2m):

  • Stairs
  • Changes of direction
  • At an exit door
  • Changes of level
  • Intersection of corridors
  • At each first aid point
  • Fighting equipment or manual call points

Additional Areas & High Risk

Certain areas are not part of the escape route but still require illumination if people could be located there. This includes lifts, escalators, moving walkways, toilets larger than 8m², toilets smaller than 8m² without borrowed light, disabled toilets, small lobbies, motor and plant rooms and pedestrian routes within covered car parks.

Other additional areas which require special attention are high-risk task areas, places of entertainment and open areas greater than 60m².

Stand-by Lighting

If stand-by lighting is used as emergency lighting, it should conform to all the requirements of emergency lighting.

Mounting Heights

Emergency luminaires should be mounted at least 2m above the floor. There is no upper limit but luminaires should be fitted below smoke level if there is a significant risk of floor illumination being affected. A low-level ‘way finding’ lighting system could be installed as a supplementary to high-level emergency lighting, where appropriate.

Luminaire Failure

The possibility of emergency luminaire failure should always be considered in the scheme design. A minimum of 2 luminaires should be allowed for in each lighting compartment.

Luminaires & Emergency Lighting Systems

A varied range of emergency lighting is available to suit different budgets, decors, building requirements, colours and specifications. ABB Emergi-Lite can help the Specifier with the selection or possibly consider a special luminaire to a particular requirement.

Types of Emergency Lighting

  • Self-contained: Each luminaire contains a battery and is a micro-system in itself
  • Slave: Luminaires that are powered from a central battery AC/AC or AC/DC system
  • Conversions: Most mains fluorescent luminaires can be converted for emergency use. ABB Emergi-Lite has specialist conversion centres for this purpose. The Morley site is third party certified to ICEL-1 004

Categories of Emergency Lighting

  • Non-maintained (NM): Luminaires operate when the mains fail
  • Maintained (M): Luminaires operate when the mains fail, but can also be operated if required using a switch when the mains are healthy
  • Combined non-maintained: The luminaire has more than one lamp, one illuminates when the mains is healthy, the other in emergency when the mains fails
  • Combined maintained: Both lamps operate in emergency

Testing & Maintenance of Emergency Lighting

To be effective, it is essential that Emergency Lighting is regularly tested and a maintenance procedure is set in place to current British Standards BS 5266 Part 1:2005 and BS 5266 Part 8:2004 (EN 50172). Automatic test systems are covered in the IEC62034.

Semi-Automatic Testing

Semi-automatic testing systems are available that can initiate a test to verify the correct operation required in the prescribed monthly and annual tests. The ABB Emergi-Lite remote infra-red test system (IR2) is simple to use and enables the user to control and observe tests or download and store data for assessment later on a PC.

Fully Automatic Testing

This can be achieved with the Naveo web based system running Centrel addressable testing. A remote operator can oversee a system by logging in. A local central control unit communicates to each emergency luminaire via a two-core cable for automatic testing schedules and data retrieval.

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Emergi-Lite, emergency lighting

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