For emergency escape routes on a business premises, the law requires that emergency lighting is installed. It must remain in operation when the normal functional lighting fails. Lighting is essential to enable all persons to escape from a property whether that be to exit a property because the lighting has failed or indeed to escape from a property in an emergency situation.
There are 2 main ways for creating an emergency light, a central battery system and a self-contained system:-
A central battery system is generally installed in large properties due to the complicated and expensive hardware that it is comprised of. This type of battery system is used in large battery banks, change over panels, UPS panels, switchgear all of which would normally be installed in large plant rooms.
A dedicated circuit is wired around a building with no switches anywhere on the circuit to ensure that there is no break in the circuit. Any light fitting wired to an emergency circuit would become an emergency light, normally wired in a fire resistant cable to ensure the integrity of the circuit is maintained.
The second method and much more common way of completing an emergency lighting project is using self-contained emergency light fittings. The battery responsible for keeping the light fitting on is fitted inside the light fitting itself. This method is a much more cost effective way of installing an emergency lighting system and there are several options to consider when looking at this type of fitting.
Many light fitting manufacturers have an emergency option for their products whereby a battery and charging circuit is built into the fittings.
If an integrated emergency fitting is not available from the lighting manufacturer then an emergency bulkhead or small LED downlight can be installed either adjacent to a light fitting or directly into the escape route. The bulkhead and LED downlight options are often much cheaper than the integrated emergency light fittings supplied by the light fitting manufacturer.
The risk assessment process will determine the best method to be selected and should always be conducted with all relevant parties.