Designing An Emergency Lighting System: Part 8
As the last part of our Designing An Emergency Lighting System series we will discuss after-care for your system. The Fire Safety Order requires regular testing to be performed as part of maintaining the compliance of an emergency lighting system. As such, any emergency lighting system must contain facilities to test various functions of the system.
There should also be provisions made to allow the person carrying out testing to record the details of each emergency lighting testing session, whether through a log book or a computer system.
Provision for testing and results recording should be a part of the emergency lighting system design from the outset as, with luck, this is a task that will be carried out far more often that the emergency lights will actually be used in ‘real life’.
When planning testing you should discuss with your emergency lighting system designer the following points:
- the reliability and capability of the member of staff/team that will be responsible for testing the system
- how difficult it will be to carry out the testing
- if tests need to be done outside normal working hours, e.g. when it’s dark
- how tests will be carried out in buildings that are permanently occupied, e.g. a hotel with many guests
You need to carry out the following kinds of test:
- Function Test: Stop normal power supply to the emergency lights and see if they operate as they should and then charge properly once the power supply has been restored. This should be done at least once a month.
- Discharge Test: Test the emergency lights for the full period of their discharge to see if they are operate optimally and then recharge as normal. This should be done annually.
If emergency lights are to be tested manually consider whether there is a single switch or the lights are switched individually, this will dictate how many times you have to walk around the building to check if everything is operating correctly.