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Putting the spotlight on emergency lighting with ESP

3rd November 2014

Paul Dawson, managing director of ESP Ltd takes a look the emergency lighting sector, highlighting some of the areas wholesalers need to take into consideration when making product selections.


Emergency lighting is the term used for light fixtures and fittings that provide illumination for an emergency situation when the main power supply is cut and any normal illumination fails.  The loss of mains electricity could be the result of a fire, sudden power surge, or a power cut and the normal lighting supplies fail. This may lead to sudden darkness and a possible danger to the occupants, either through physical danger or panic.


Emergency lighting is normally required to operate fully automatically and give illumination of a sufficiently high level to enable all occupants to evacuate the premises safely. All new commercial buildings now have emergency lighting installed during construction; the design and type of equipment being specified by the architect in accordance with current Building Regulations and any local authority requirements.


Emergency lighting is a general term and is sub-divided into emergency escape lighting and standby lighting.


  • Emergency escape lighting – to provide illumination for the safety of people leaving a location or attempting to terminate a potentially dangerous process beforehand. It is part of the fire safety provision of a building and a requirement of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.


  • Standby lighting - to enable normal activities to continue substantially unchanged.


The emergency lighting category generally comprises emergency exit lights; emergency exit signs/legends and emergency light bulkheads and twin spots, and falls into two main categories; ‘maintained’ and ‘non-maintained’ emergency luminaires.


‘Maintained’ is a luminaire in which the emergency lighting lamps are on at all times.  Maintained mode is generally used within public places of assembly such as theatres, cinemas, clubs and halls.  The lights are typically dimmed when these premises are occupied and the emergency escape lighting prevents total darkness.


‘Non-maintained emergency luminaire’ – a luminaire whose emergency lamps only come on when the power supply to the normal lighting fails. Non-maintained is the typical mode in a workplace or similar environment in which artificial lighting is normally deployed while the premises are occupied.


‘Combined emergency luminaire’ – a luminaire containing two or more lamps, at least one of which is energized from the emergency lighting supply and the other(s) from the normal lighting supply.  A combined emergency luminaire can be either maintained or non-maintained.


Health & Safety

It is a legal requirement to include provision for escape route lighting and in today’s landscape where health and safety issues are paramount, it is vital that emergency lighting performs to the highest possible standards when it is required. The regulations and standards affecting emergency lighting are as follows:


  • Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (Legislation for controlling fire safety within the UK)
  • BS 5266 – 1: 2011 (Code of practice for emergency lighting premises.  Gives general rules and guidance on the provision and operation of emergency lighting in most premises other than dwelling houses)
  • BS EN 60598-2-22 (Product standards for luminaires)
  • BS 7671 (A reference point for installation and testing of Emergency lighting systems)


The British Standard BS 5266-1: 2011 code of practice provides the emergency lighting designer with clear guidelines to work to. BS 5266-1: 2011 embraces residential hotels, clubs, hospitals, nursing homes, schools and colleges, licensed premises, offices, museums, shops, multi-storey dwellings for example.  However, whilst this standard recommends the types and durations of emergency lighting systems relating to each category of premises, it should be remembered that the standards given are the minimum safe standards for particular types of building and that a higher standard may be required for a particular installation.


This is a key area for consideration.  Specifying a luminaire accredited with a third party test certificate to the relevant standard provides peace of mind that the product is fit for purpose and sourced from a reputable supplier with a compliant quality process.


All products in the new Duceri range of emergency lighting from ESP have been independently tested by established photometric data test house, LUX-TSI, and comply with the latest industry standards and regulations.  LUX-TSI is a UKAS accredited performance and safety testing services partner, with over 100 years of expertise to draw upon, plus state of the art product testing equipment and laboratory facilities.


ESP is able to supply the photometric data for each of its products and continues to demonstrate its commitment to add value for customers by offering a free design scheme service, which will allow access to ESP’s technical expertise when it comes to the correct positioning of the products.


There is still confusion relating to sign format, which has been the subject of various legislative changes over the years.  The best advice for new installations is to use internally illuminated emergency sign luminaires with the minimum number of sign formats of the ISO7010 format.  All ESP signage complies fully with ISO7010 – meaning virtually every escape route scenario can be clearly indicated using the basic pictogram signs highlighting ‘straight on’, ‘go left’ and ‘go right’.


Efficiency and cost savings

The fast pace of developments of LED technology is also having an impact – bringing significant benefits for emergency lighting luminaires and exit signs in terms of energy efficiency and cost savings.    The technology has advanced to an extent that there are now LED equivalents for many traditional lamp types and the cost continues to come down.  Today’s white LED’s produce bright, uniform light that is well directed and they offer a much longer life and reduced energy consumption.  They can also be designed to be extremely sleek and unobtrusive and the smaller battery size has further positive implications for the environment.


Speed and ease of installation are key considerations for installers and contractors who will be looking for those products which allow them to complete a job quickly and easily as well as safely.  ESP’s products are designed with this in mind, with the bulkheads for example featuring a hinged gear tray and five 20mm cable entry points, which allow easier and quicker access and installation.  Fast fit mains termination blocks on the bulkheads and emergency exit signs offer the facility to push down on each terminal to allow entry and release of cable – resulting in quicker termination without the need for a screwdriver.  Emergency Flush Mounted Bulkheads are designed for easy installation into plasterboard or ceiling tiles.


Regular servicing and testing of emergency lighting systems are a requirement of BS5266, so that they are maintained in full working order.  If the costs of an engineer’s time and the disruption caused by manual testing are excessive, emergency lighting systems equipped with an automatic testing facility should be considered and there are different formats available to match particular site requirements.


For further information, contact ESP on 01527 515150, email info@espuk.com or visit www.espuk.com.


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