Emergency lighting is a vital element of any life safety system and plays a key role in guiding people to a safe location in the event of a mains lighting failure. However, its effectiveness can be seriously compromised if it is not positioned correctly and the incorrect siting of this equipment represents a serious breach of UK fire safety legislation.
The risk assessment that must be undertaken under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 should identify any specific areas that must be addressed. The regulations, standards and guidance on this issue are comprehensive and designed to ensure that each building’s particular needs are thoroughly examined and understood.
BS 5266, the code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises, offers guidance on the positioning of luminaires, minimum light levels, acceptable glare levels and minimum routine testing schedules. It provides a minimum standard that should be applied and gives guidance on specific hazards and points of emphasis that have to be accounted for.
Points of emphasis are mandatory locations where lighting must highlight specific hazards, safety equipment and signs. These include areas near stairs, near changes of level, at each change of direction, near fire fighting equipment and manual call points, outside and near to each final exit, first aid points, at exit doors, and near safety signs. Once these points of emphasis have been protected, the sections of corridor between each point also need to be illuminated to the minimum specified level.
When it comes to choosing products, it is important to remember that not all manufacturers’ products are the same – you need to look at the spacing guide for the specific products being used and site the luminaires according to what is needed to produce the correct Lux level.
A correctly installed emergency lighting system could be the difference between life and death – therefore everything possible must be done to avoid the latter.
Hochiki Europe has produced a free guide to BS 5266. Visit Hochiki Europe’s website www.hochikieurope.com/bs5266 to download it for free. It is also available in a handy and durable A6 hard copy format that can be requested by completing the form on the same Hochiki Europe website.