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Emergency Lighting

2 Apr 2021

Emergency light fittings have a battery as a backup power source that is continuously charged. Emergency light fittings monitor when the power has failed and instantly move over to using the backup battery. You are legally required to fit emergency lighting to you premises in accordance with the latest standards and guidance, risk assessments must be carried out legally to keep the occupants of the building safe in the event of an emergency.

The objective of emergency lighting is to allow for business continuity or in the worst-case situations, evacuation of staff and/or public in a safe manner.

There are two types of emergency light fitting, maintained and non-maintained, here are the differences.


Maintained emergency fittings are designed to be used as a standard light fitting which can be illuminated continuously, including when complete power failure occurs. In normal circumstances the fitting will run from the buildings power supply, when the emergency mode is activated the power will be taken from the battery back-up power source.


Non-maintained fittings only illuminate when total power supply is lost. They are created to make sure all emergency exit paths are illuminated to allow for a safe and lit route. Non-maintained fittings will not be active in normal day to day conditions.

Emergency lighting should fall under your regular compliance checks and must be maintained regularly. Testing should be carried out by the responsible person on site or a qualified contractor.


This test should only be a short interruption to the power supply if all is functioning correctly. Once main power is restored, you must check that the fittings are completely charging up again. Results must be kept, and any defects and failures should be logged and rectified as soon as possible. Carrying out these tests monthly allows you to keep on top of all lighting in your premises.

Annual Test

It is extremely important that a full duration test is carried out annually. This means that emergency lighting fitting back-up batteries must provide 3 hours of constant illumination – if they do not, the 3-hour test will be considered a failure and the batteries should be replaced.

There are many factors to consider in terms of the best time to carry out your emergency light testing.

  • Will it affect the day-to-day operation of the workplace, testing outside of office work hours is always an option?
  • Time of day – testing during daylight hours is not always practical
  • Tie it in with other compliance checks, for example fire alarm or CCTV maintenance

If you have any further questions about emergency lighting or any compliance checks for that matter, do not hesitate to get in touch. FPM can carry out a fully comprehensive survey of the premises and will advise you on the next steps forward.