exit sign electrics

Emergency Lighting – How Does It Work?

Emergency lighting is a feature in many buildings of all sizes, and the UK law states that any company building that is occupied should be fitted with adequate emergency lighting in order to ensure the safety of all building users. Building owners are required to have luminaries in place and emergency lighting is to be regularly tested. There are two main types of emergency lighting – maintained and non-maintained. Maintained lights work much like other lights in the building but will work when the others fail, all be it at a lower lux level. Non-maintained lights will usually be turned off and fully charged and only activated when there is a power cut. There are less common types of emergency lighting too which include combined lights, combined self-contained lights and satellite emergency lights.

There are a number of ways in which emergency lighting is used. Here we look at the most common:


During evacuations, stairwells pose a hazard so therefore require emergency lighting. There must be at least two emergency lights covering the stairwell area.

Open Area

Emergency lighting for open areas is only required if the area exceeds 60 square metres. There needs to be at least one light used for open area emergency lighting. All emergency exit doors need to have emergency lighting above them so people can clearly see where to exit the building.

Escape Route

There must be a minimum of one light lit for an emergency escape route during an evacuation. If this route is a corridor then it needs to be free of anything that may obstruct the evacuation.

Emergency lighting installation, replacing and maintaining can be easily carried out by our professional team at M&K Electrical. Contact us for more information.

Ask for proof of registration / qualification

Be wary of any electrician that isn’t registered. It doesn’t always mean they do not know the trade, but it is always best to choose someone who is registered as this means they would have been checked by a government-approved scheme. You can check if an electrician is registered easily online. You can also ask for proof of qualification or their registration code, any experienced electrician will be happy to provide this information and will understand your reasons.

Be upfront and thorough

This should go both ways. You should be honest about your needs and expectations regarding the details and time frame of the work you require. It is best to make a list of all questions you have and put these to your electrician before any work has started. This way you can both be clear on what you expect. A genuine electrician will give you a thorough walk through on the work they plan to carry out and what they need with regards to space and time, as well as any potential disruptions or lack of power that may be involved. If the electrician seems at all awkward or unwilling when answering your questions, you should see this as a warning sign.

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