October, 2015

Emergency Lighting – How to Make Sure it’s Safe

Emergency Lighting – How to Make Sure it’s Safe

No-one wants to think about the possibility of a life-threatening situation arising at their property, such as a fire or other emergency that might require the occupants to have to leave in a hurry. However, responsible landlords will need to plan for all eventualities to ensure that no harm comes to their tenants. In a dangerous situation, a system of emergency lighting could make all the difference to tenants being able to escape in good time. Hamilton King, a specialist property maintenance company which manages residential apartments from new builds to period properties, explains more about emergency lighting and how to make sure that it is properly maintained so that it is effective when needed. A Landlord’s Obligation to Provide Emergency Lighting Regulations came into force in 2006 which gave the ‘responsible person’ who is in control of commercial premises and the communal areas of a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) the duty of keeping everyone in the building safe. The duty applies whether the people are working in the building, visiting or living there. This duty of care includes providing appropriate emergency lighting. Regulations state that emergency routes and exits which need to be lit must be provided with emergency lighting of sufficient brightness in the case of failure of the normal lighting. Which Properties Need Emergency Lighting? Generally, a property could benefit from an emergency lighting system if the escape routes are long and the building’s design is complex, if there is no natural or borrowed lighting along the escape route and if the occupants are vulnerable. ‘Borrowed light’ means light coming from a source which could be considered reliable, such as street lighting. For houses of multiple occupancy of four storeys, emergency lighting may be appropriate if the escape route is complex; for HMOs of five or six storeys, emergency lighting is strongly recommended. Evolution of Emergency Lighting The obvious purpose of emergency lighting is for it to come on when there is a power outage, so an emergency light needs a battery or generator to give it an independent source of power. The first emergency lights were incandescent light bulbs which only provided dim light and gave barely enough light to see to repair the power problem or evacuate the building’s inhabitants. Better systems were soon developed, and a modern emergency floodlight gives good illumination in the form of high-lumen light. Many modern lights are...

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