If you are the designated “responsible person” for a non-domestic building, then it is your responsibility to ensure that adequate emergency lighting is in place and working correctly.
A fire or other emergency can cause power failures, and it is essential that staff, tenants and members of the public can exit the building quickly and safely even in total darkness.
Won’t Streetlights Do?
Emergency lighting is required at a number of points throughout a building. If escape routes are sufficiently illuminated by “borrowed lighting” (usually referring to streetlights) then this can sometimes be acceptable for use by people who know the building well – however, relying on street lighting is never deemed acceptable for buildings where members of the public may have to escape.
Where is Emergency Lighting Needed?
First of all, take a walk around your building’s escape routes. Emergency lighting and/or signage must be provided:
- on every exit door
- at regular intervals along the escape routes
- when a route (eg a corridor) changes direction
- where the floor level changes
- in stairwells and on each flight of stairs
- where fire and first aid equipment is kept
Emergency lighting is also needed in various points which are not part of your escape routes. Consider installing it:
- in toilets and other windowless rooms
- in lifts
- on escalators
- around equipment which needs to be shut down in the event of an emergency
In buildings where there are large numbers of people, especially where there is a lot of public use, it is sensible to install anti-panic lighting in large open spaces, to aid in the safe and calm dispersal of people into the emergency exit routes.
Careful planning of emergency lighting is critical – and once in place, it must be tested at regular intervals, and the results recorded.