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How Long Should Emergency Lights Stay On?

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how long should emergency lights stay on?

As a business owner or site manager, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the importance of emergency lighting. But what’s unclear for some is just how long emergency lights should stay on. In this post, we’ll provide the all-important answers when it comes to emergency situations and testing.

How long should emergency lights stay on in an emergency?

If you’re asking: ‘how long should emergency lights stay on?’, the first thing to consider is why your emergency lights need to stay on – namely, an emergency.

There might be a local power cut where mains lighting is out of use. A leak could automatically trigger a shutdown in your electrical system. Or a fire could burn through your cables. In these scenarios, emergency lights need to illuminate an exit route for anyone in the building, as well as signposting that route with visible, well-lit signals.

After the initial evacuation, emergency services may need to enter your building – in the case of a fire, for example. As a result, emergency lighting is typically required for longer than the evacuation time alone. Considering all of the above, emergency lighting should stay on for at least three hours without any mains power.

What about for a test?

The other situation where emergency lights need to stay on is for a test. Emergency lighting should be thoroughly inspected in line with BS 5266 at least once every year. That includes a full duration test to check that emergency lights can stay on as long as they would be required for an emergency.

As above, that means your emergency lights will need to stay on and be fully functional for three hours. During that time, a qualified and competent electrician will be able to inspect every component of your emergency lighting system, identify any issues, and provide or recommend the necessary repairs to keep it in full working order.

Making sure your emergency lights stay on long enough

By their very nature, emergency lights are only triggered when there is a problem with your mains power supply. In other words, they only come on when they’re needed. So how can you make sure your emergency lights are ready and prepared to stay on long enough when called upon?

The answer is with regular testing. As outlined above, an annual test is recommended as the best way to keep emergency lighting in full working order for complete peace of mind. In environments prone to power outages, leaks or fires, more frequent testing may also be required to keep everyone on the premises protected.

Professional emergency light testing

The proud, accredited workforce at Volta Compliance is committed to providing a safe environment for businesses throughout Leeds and the surrounding areas. That includes professional emergency lighting testing to ensure your emergency routes and exit points are clearly illuminated when needed.

To book in a test for your company, give us a call on 0113 397 1361 or email [email protected].

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Richard Carr Volta Compliance
Richard Carr
Managing Director
Richard is the Director of Volta Compliance. He is a fully qualified approved electrician graded with the JIB. Richard has over 20 years electrical experience working on commercial and industrial installations.