Basic Requirement of Escape Lighting

The home?

There is no regulation requiring emergency lighting in the home but there are often circumstances where a degree of emergency provision can be useful, particularly in homes that might be prone to power outages, such as those in rural areas.

Emergency lighting on stairs can be very useful, as can be back-up lighting in kitchens and workshops where hot surfaces might be expected. New LED emergency downlights are small and discreet and do not intrude on domestic decoration.

One final comment; consider an emergency fixture in utility areas where torches might be kept.

Shared occupancy dwellings?

Emergency lighting is not required in individual flats/apartments, but common areas, such as staircases should have back-up emergency provision if the normal lighting fails.

What is interesting here is that this doesn’t just apply to a total electrical outage in the building; it relates directly to the loss of normal lighting provision. If the circuit breaker for the normal lighting on the stairs trips, then emergency lighting should take over.

In the UK: Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 

Emergency lighting of common areas should also form part of the Fire Risk Assessment for the building.

Care homes?

The basic requirement is to be able to remove residents to a place of safety if there is a fire. A system of escape lighting and signage is a requirement. If there is a likelihood of persons with seeing difficulties being present, then additional guidance measures may be needed.

If the care home employs more than five people, then one or more ‘competent persons’ must be appointed to undertake preventative and protective measures and the staff need to nominate people whose job to is to carry out particular roles in connection with fire safety procedures.

There is also a case for emergency lighting in individual rooms where there is no ‘borrowed light’ available. Emergency lighting in bathrooms could provide ‘borrowed light’ if there is a translucent panel in or above the door.

Staff areas such as kitchens and rest rooms should also be provided with emergency lighting to ensure that everyone can exit the building safely.

In the UK: Fire Safety Risk Assessment – residential care premises

Sleeping accommodation?

This applies to almost everywhere that a person may be expected to sleep apart from their own or other people’s homes.

There must be a system of lighting that enables people who may be unfamiliar with the building to safely exit the building. This will be a combination of escape illumination and signage. Lighting in bedrooms is determined by the Fire Risk Assessment that must be carried out for the building. If its decided that a non-maintained luminaire is required in a sleeping space then care should be taken to ensure that the illuminated indicator (that provides visual confirmation that the luminaire is functioning correctly) is not so bright that it disturbs the sleep of the occupants.

In the UK: Fire Safety Risk Assessment – sleeping accommodation

External stairs and exit points?

Emergency escape lighting is there to ensure the safe egress from a building. If the stairs require ‘normal’ lighting provision on the stairs, then an emergency back-up will be required in the event of a power failure.

Emergency escape lighting also needs to be required at the exit point of the building. The intention is to get people clear of the building and into the relative safety of the street or a designated refuge area. This may require additional luminaires between the final exit door and the final place of safety.