Emergency lighting systems are a legal requirement for any commercial premises and as such there are also requirements as to when they need to be tested.
Given the vital role emergency lighting will play in a situation where the buildings power fails or staff need to evacuate the building due to a range of emergencies the system needs to be tested.
Although the vast majority of firms are aware of the testing requirements there does remain a degree of uncertainty. While the duration may depend on the system installed, as a rule of thumb systems should be tested on a monthly basis and undergo a more rigorous test annually.
Be it monthly or annually the question for some businesses is when would be the best time to carry out the testing?
It might be obvious to some but given the lights are designed to deliver benefit when power failures or emergencies occur and the premises may be plunged into darkness, during daylight hours may not be viewed as the optimum time to test the system given that in poor lighting issues may become obvious.
Another issue to consider is any test will require the system to rely on its battery power and once the main power is restored the batteries will begin to recharge. You need to think when would be the best time, given that batteries will be less than fully charged for a period following the test itself.
Once you have decided when to do the test what is involved in the monthly and annual tests?
In terms of monthly tests these are designed to ensure that the system is operating properly.
The core steps that need to be carried out are:
- Switching off the supply to the system from the mains power.
- The use of a specialist key or the fuse box to halt power to test the ability of the system’s batteries to light the system to the required level.
- A test to ensure all parts of the system are working as they should.
- Check that the lights are not compromised by dirt or other obstructions that would reduce the ability to light the way to the emergency exits.
- Check the lighting for signs of wear and tear and replace where needed.
- Once the mains power is restored check that the batteries are being properly recharged.
Annually there needs to be a more rigorous test which encompasses all of the monthly test requirements but will also require the system to be in operation for a minimum of three hours.
This should be a fully rated test and is designed to ensure that the system is able to work for a prolonged period should there be a situation where the use and evacuation of the building is compromised.
The results of the tests are required to be registered in your fire safety logbook with issues that have been identified and work needed to be carried out to remedy those issues also included.
While the monthly tests can be carried out by the firm’s fire safety officer the annual test is almost always carried out by specialist fire safety companies.
At Powercor we take the testing and maintenance of emergency lighting systems extremely seriously and have developed a system which enables monthly tests to be undertaken and completed without the need for a physical visit.
Our state-of-the-art lighting management system is a web-based software platform that manages all compliance requirements for you. The system monitors each luminaire remotely and provides automatic monthly test scheduling and reporting. Following each test, clients receive a detailed report listing the performance of every luminaire with recommended actions.
Powercor is an award-winning company, delivering sustainable and efficient energy solutions for private and public clients. We have worked extensively with schools and businesses to upgrade their lighting and power systems and install the very latest emergency lighting solutions. With over 10 years’ experience in the energy efficiency sector, we empower customers to maximise their benefit from lighting and energy solutions whilst reducing energy consumption and saving money. With a dedicated team of technicians and engineers, we manage all of your energy needs – from lighting and sustainable energy to infrastructure and safety.
For more information
Download our FREE Emergency Lighting Guide for more information or contact us for a quote on 01932 839 890 or email email@example.com.