Skip to content
25/01/2017 / Graham Lowe

So, what is Emergency Safety Lighting?

BS 5266 was revised for two key reasons; to keep the document aligned with associated national and European standards, and to recognise the fact that, in some situations, occupants might need to remain on the premises in safety. For example, it may be difficult to evacuate care homes, hospitals etc. The revised standard, therefore, introduces a new type of emergency lighting, ‘Emergency Safety Lighting’ (also known as ‘stay put’ lighting), and provides the risk assessor with clear guidance on how to assess where this type of emergency lighting might be necessary.


Diagram of Types of Emergency Lighting, ICEL 2016


The revision makes it clear that Emergency Safety Lighting should help occupants continue normal operations in the event of failure of the supply to normal lighting. In high risk task areas, this means that the illuminance value should not be less than 10% of the average of the normal lighting at the location of the risk. It is important to note however, that in some areas, such as hospital operating theatres, 100% of normal lighting levels may still be required.

The revision also stipulates that occupants can only stay in the building as long as it is safe to do so. This means that they can only stay in the building if the risk is minimal (eg. there is adequate daylight in the building), or until there is 1-hour duration left in the emergency lighting, or until the system allows occupants to be escorted to a low risk location.

When the emergency action plan is drawn up, a number of considerations must be made; if there is a stay put solution, how long can occupants stay? How will the end of the stay put period be indicated? What happens at the end of the emergency duration? How will occupants be directed to safe refuges? This must all be documented in the action plan.

A maintenance plan also needs to be established, and it is strongly recommended that the Emergency Safety Lighting is self-testing.

Hochiki’s ‘FIREscape’ is a fully monitored, intelligent, self-testing emergency lighting system which is suitable for a variety of applications. For example, it has been successfully installed at Sligo Regional Hospital and Teesside University. To find out more about FIREscape, please click here.

Hochiki has recently updated their A6 pocket guide to BS 5266, which you can request a free copy of via the website. Hochiki have also updated their Emergency Lighting CPD presentation to include the revisions to BS5266 Part 1: 2016; if you are interested in a presentation please contact us.

If you would like to discuss an emergency lighting project, please contact our Lighting Manager, Ian Watts, on 07789 228 949.

It is important to note that there are several other revisions to BS 5266 Part 1: 2016, and so we would recommend that you refer to the official full standard for more details.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: