Emergency lighting is an important piece of fire safety equipment, helping illuminate the path to safety.
Getting people to safety with minimal disruptions can be a life saving measure, which is what makes lighting so important. When people can’t see, they find it very difficult to evacuate in a safe and timely manner. Emergency lighting is what guides people to the exit, and helps protect them from danger when a building’s electricity supply has been compromised.
What are emergency lighting and exit signs?
Often, during fires or floods, electricity is one of the first casualties. When power goes out, so can lighting. Darkness in these situations can put people in a perilous and terrifying situation. Emergency lights are battery-powered light sources that are activated when power goes out, helping guide people to the emergency exits of a building. They’re required by law in commercial and residential buildings in Australia.
What different emergency lights are available?
Emergency lights generally fit into two categories: maintained and non-maintained. Maintained emergency lights are always on, but switch over to an external battery supply when the power goes out. Non-maintained lights aren’t usually on, and will only light up in an emergency. Maintained lights can be used as regular lighting as well as emergency lighting, while non-maintained lights can be used in areas that don’t need constant lighting. Fire Equipment Online has a wide range of emergency lights suitable for your needs, including:
Where do they need to be installed?
Both exit signs and emergency lights must be installed inside the building in various places around the building.
Your exit signs should be located above all the exits from the building. They should also be placed above staircases and doors along the evacuation path – especially along corridors where there is a change in direction or an intersection where people can get lost. Exit signs must be lit up and visible at all times, not only in an emergency.
It’s crucial to install emergency lights in key intervals around a building to highlight the escape path. Some of the key areas required include:
- Along escape routes
- Where there are stairs, ramps, or escalators
- At the exit doors of the building
- Where there’s an intersection in a corridor
- In toilets, large rooms or rooms that don’t have windows
- Each level or floor of a building
- Above fire fighting equipment
Where do they fit into the Australian Standards?
AS 2293 The Australian Standard for emergency lighting. This includes three different parts:
- 2293.1 Part 1: System design, installation and operation (AS/NZS 2293.1:2018)
- 2293.2 Part 2: Routine service and maintenance (AS/NZS 2293.2:2019)
- 2293.3 Part 3: Emergency luminaires and exit signs (AS/NZS 2293.3:2018)
How do I ensure I have the best emergency lighting systems in place?
- Search your building for areas where there are potential intersections, hazards and obstacles to a safe emergency evacuation
- Consider your Emergency Evacuation Plan. What is the route to safety?
- Evaluate your evacuation lighting to ensure the evacuation lighting is perfectly matched along this route. Also consider the proximity of other fire equipment along this route, like fire extinguishers and alarm systems
- Consider how you can make the evacuation process as smooth and straightforward as possible in an emergency. Remember – your fire safety plan is a holistic process, with many components
- You must test your lighting regularly, and keep an emergency lighting document. This must be reviewed on a regular basis, while ensuring you update your lighting whenever you make changes to the layout of your building.
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