This article is Part 1 of an informative series – Emergency Lighting 101

What is an emergency light?

An emergency light is a battery-backed light fitting.  The emergency light switches on automatically when a building or a specific circuit experiences a loss of power.

You could expect to see emergency light fittings installed in places such as: commercial, retail, industrial, education, hospital type buildings and many more. Emergency light fittings have certain regulatory requirements including location, testing etc.

What do they look like & how to identify one?

Exit light
Emergency batten
Recessed emergency light

Styles of Emergency Lighting

There are many different styles of emergency lights in the marketplace.  Each have various purposes, for example:

  • Recessed style – designed to illuminate areas when power is lost
  • Exit sign – designed to offer clear indication to location of exit within the specific room or area
  • General area / bulkheads / batten lights – designed to offer clear indication to location of exit within the specific room or area
  • Exit lights with inbuilt speakers for sound for directions


Control of Emergency Lighting

Emergency light fittings could be controlled for testing at a central location or operate as stand-alone on a general circuit.  Some emergency lights have in built sensors for energy save options.  That is the emergency light fitting provides general area lighting but will only operate when motion is sensed until a power outage occurs.  Once loss of power is detected they will then illuminate until the power is restored or the battery expires.


How To Identify An Emergency Light Fitting

Apart from the obvious arrows or word ‘exit’ there could be a small indicator light on the side of a fitting.  The indicator may operate in different situations depending on manufacture design.  There may also be a test button for manual testing in the same location as the indicator.

Where Are They Likely To Be Installed In A Building?

  • In most offices/classrooms
  • Stairwells
  • At stairwell entrances or doorways
  • Foyers/reception areas
  • Restrooms,
  • Exits/entrances etc


Batteries For Emergency Lighting

Batteries are usually installed inside the fitting. There are several different battery types used in emergency fittings such as: Lead acid, Nickel Cadmium, Lithium iron phosphate, Lithium nano phosphate.  Each of these have different qualities and will determine in particular the life of the battery. They are usually recharged when the fitting is energised by standard power supply.

Part 2 of Emergency Lighting 101

Be sure to visit Part 2 of our series on emergency lighting which covers: Specific laws around emergency lighting. Includes penalties for non-compliance.

Where To Get Help With Emergency Lighting

What do I do if I need help with your emergency lighting?

Contact PRO Electricians we can provide expert advise and assist with testing, repairs, certification etc.

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