How to test and inspect your emergency lights

Emergency lighting is a critical part of your building’s safety systems. They highlight safe exit routes from your building during an emergency and guide people through the building. Due to their critical role in occupant safety, emergency lights must follow a strict code. This code dictates how often they need to be tested, how they need to be tested, and what happens if there is a fault. These codes can be a challenge to fully understand. So, to help building managers, we have put together this guide on how to test and inspect emergency lighting.  

What is emergency lighting?

Emergency lighting is a system of lights designed to activate automatically in the event of a power outage. They come in many forms may include illuminated exit signs, spitfires or conventional looking battens some have traditional light bulbs or newer LED technology. They are often strategically placed in corridors, stairwells, and other key areas to provide clear pathways to exits. Emergency lighting must meet a minimum lux level to provide enough illumination to help people safely evacuate a building or navigate through it during an emergency. Emergency lighting systems typically include backup power batteries to ensure they can continue to operate even if the main power supply fails.  

Why do you need to test your emergency lighting?

Not only is testing your emergency lighting a compliance issue, but it is also a safety issue. In the event of an emergency, it is important that your lighting functions correctly. If there is a power outage, your lighting needs to operate for the correct length of time to ensure the building occupants can evacuate. Meeting all regulations surrounding emergency lighting ensures your building remains as safe as possible. This will reduce the chances of issues in an emergency and saves lives.  

How often should they be tested?

According to the AS2293.2 standard for emergency lighting testing & inspection, all emergency lights must be tested and inspected every 6 months. Any faults must be repaired as soon as possible. Your emergency lights will then need to be tested further every 12 months, which involves cleaning the fittings and reflective surfaces.  

How to test and inspect your emergency lighting

To remain compliant your emergency lights must complete a 90-minute discharge test. This test is designed to ensure that in the event of an emergency, your exit lighting fixtures will be functional and allow all occupants to exit safely. In a discharge test, the battery charger connection will be disconnected, activating the test. Power to your standard lighting will not be deactivated. In a manual test, the discharge test will involve a technician activating the test and a timer. They will then inspect the building to ensure that each light operates correctly. For an automated test, the inspector will test all lights to check charge levels and inspect the fittings themselves. During the discharge test itself, a computer will monitor the emergency lights' performance to determine whether they pass or fail.  

Who can test emergency lighting?

Can you do an emergency lighting inspection on your own? If the aim is to ensure compliance, no you cannot. It is vital that you have an experienced technician, like Power Up Electrical Solutions, complete the testing. Not only is it a regulatory requirement, but they will know the signs of a fault, and can detect and replace the equipment with little hassle.  

Conclusion

When was the last time you had your emergency lighting inspected? If it was longer than 6 months ago, give us a call right away to have a discussion on how our experienced technicians can assist you. Otherwise, get in touch to book your next inspection so you can ensure your building remains compliant. To book an appointment, call the experts at Power Up Electrical Solutions.