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Emergency Lighting

Emergency Lighting

What Is Emergency Lighting?

Emergency lighting is battery powered lighting which will switch on and illuminate when the power is cut from the mains. This is usually for the people inside the building to find their way out of the building in a safe manner. Guidelines now exist which mean all new larger buildings must have the correct emergency lighting fitted whilst older buildings must retro-fit emergency lighting to ensure the building is as safe as possible.

What Types Of Emergency Lighting Are There?

There are a variety of different types of emergency lighting which are available to suit whatever lighting need you may have. The most traditional type of emergency lighting are the internal and external bulkhead emergency fittings. These usually have a polycarbonate body and tray which houses all the components and most of these will operate for three hours without any mains power and will recharge when the mains power has been restored.

There are a variety of different shapes, however the most popular by far are the circular and rectangular shaped bulkheads which will stretch from 8W to 28W usually. In recent times, more decorative products have hit the market. Interior and exterior bulkheads which can be purchased with emergency gear inside so they will light when there is a power cut.

Another very popular type of emergency lighting are the illuminated fire exit signs which light up to show you where the exits are. These can be maintained or non maintained (more on this further down the article) and come in a variety of styles to suit the décor in your building. These are another legal requirement in buildings with a high footfall or a public building such as a school, hotel or retail building.

LED emergency lighting is now starting to become very popular thanks to its energy saving benefits. A lot of illuminated exit signs are now LED and are virtually maintenance free thanks to the fact the LEDs in the fitting will last for around 30,000 hours without needing to be replaced.

LED downlights are also a newer addition to the market over the last few years and there is an emergency option available with comes complete with battery pack should the mains power cut. 1 watt and 3 watt version are available producing over 75 lumens of light.

It is also vitally important to replace batteries as soon as they are no longer working correctly. There are two different types of emergency lighting battery – inline and side-by-side are the two most popular types. These come in a variety of cell counts (2/3/4) depending on the fitting which you have. Saft and Youasa are two market leaders in this field.

What Buildings Am I Likely To See Emergency Lighting In?

All buildings which have a large footfall or are reliant on artificial lighting are obliged to have emergency lighting installed as a legal requirement. This is usually so the people inside can find their way out in the event of an emergency. Hotels, theatres, cinemas, apartments, flats, warehousing, retail shops, pubs and restaurants are just some of the places you will find emergency lighting.

Stairwells and exit routes are the places which are most likely to be illuminated when the power is cut along with first aid areas, refuge points and fire equipment areas.

What Is The Difference Between Maintained & Non-Maintained?

When looking for the emergency lighting fitting you require, you are likely to come across the terms 'maintained' and 'non-maintained'. These phrases are terminology usually associated with emergency lighting products, but what is the difference?

Maintained fittings are ones which can be operated with a lighting controller (such as a switch) and can be left permanently on or can just operate when there is a power cut.

Non maintained fittings will not illuminate unless there is a power cut.