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Fire & Emergency Lighting – What You Need To Know

Emergency and exit lighting is crucial for your building’s safety

Emergency and exit lighting is an important feature in every building. They provide temporary illumination during a power failure or emergency evacuation, and they identify and direct people to designated safe locations such as exits and refuge areas.

Different types of emergency and exit lighting

Emergency lighting is a critical safety component in a commercial building. It provides the means of escape from a dangerous or hazardous condition. There are a few different types of emergency lighting available to choose from including:
Portable emergency light fixtures: These fixtures are designed to be carried by hand and they have a battery back up.
They can provide full coverage in an area that they are placed in. These lights are typically used in the event that the power goes out in a building, or when someone is evacuating an area due to a fire or other type of hazard. This is the most common type of emergency light available today.
Emergency exit signs with battery backup: These signs contain small batteries which can power them during a power outage. The batteries usually last for about 8 hours if the sign is on continuously, but there are models available which will keep going longer than this if necessary. This is an inexpensive option for businesses who want to make sure their evacuation routes remain illuminated at all times.
Emergency exit led signs: Unlike exit signs with batteries, these ones do not require operating power for them to work properly. They feature LED displays instead of bulbs, and they will still work during a power outage as well as any other time. 

Getting emergency and exit lights that conform to building codes

Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand have issued Standard AS/NZ 2293.1: 2018 (effective 29th June 2018) for Emergency Lighting in Buildings, superseding AS 2293.1: 2005. 

The National Construction Codes (NCC) states that emergency lights must be designed to provide a minimum illumination of 10 lux at floor level when the source of power is not available. In addition, the light needs to operate independently from the mains power supply for a minimum of two hours. Under AS 2293.1—2018 Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings Part 1: System design, installation and operation, emergency lighting is defined as any lighting that is activated during a power outage or in an emergency situation in order to facilitate escape from a building or confined space.

Emergency lights should be visible between 15m and 20m away from the light source, with each lamp visible from no more than 20 degrees from its location. In addition, the emergency lights should be located in such a way that ensures they are not obscured by obstructions, such as partitions or doorways.
In order to meet the NCC requirements, emergency lights used in workplaces must also comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 4008:1996 Emergency Lighting and Evacuation Markings Systems readily visible and clearly identifiable under all conditions of use.

AS 2293.1—2018 Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings Part 1: System design, installation and operation explains the requirements for the design and installation of emergency and exit lighting and exit signs (collectively referred to as ‘escape facilities’) in buildings.

The Code covers:
• the design of escape facilities
• the inspection, testing and maintenance of escape facilities;
• the operation of escape facilities;
• the inspection, testing and maintenance of extinguishing systems associated with fire alarms;
• the prohibition on locating portable fire extinguishers near electrical equipment; and
• the prohibition on locating portable fire extinguishers near fume-producing equipment. AS 2293.1—2018 applies to all buildings including residential buildings, industrial buildings, commercial buildings, retail premises, educational institutions, hospitals, aged care facilities, churches or any building that is used by members of the public.
The Code also applies to areas within these buildings where people are likely to be trapped during an emergency event. These areas include toilets, storage rooms, kitchens, stairwells and corridors.
The Code applies both inside buildings as well as outside buildings located on sites zoned as industrial or commercial.

When planning an emergency lighting system, it is important to follow Section 11 of AS 2293.1. This section details the relevant national standards – AS/NZS 4777.4:2006 Emergency lighting systems Part 4: Electrical equipment for emergency lights and signs, AS 4943.1 Electrical wiring for escape routes, and AS/NZS 3000 Power distribution in buildings.

In Summary

There’s a lot to know about fire and emergency lighting, from knowing what types of lights exist, to understanding the regulations that govern them. Even if you have a decent understanding of how fire and emergency lights work, there are still issues that you should be aware of when it comes to installation and maintenance. If you’re in any doubt about your knowledge on these matters, we recommend consulting a professional for advice. That way your company can continue to meet the standards required by regulations, while keeping its employees safe. Like to learn more reagrding your obligations as to the above article? Please contact the experts at Complete Fire and Pumps today!

Yours In Fire Safety

Alex 🧯

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