Regular fire drills and strict building regulations ensure that employees are familiar with emergency procedures and that their working environment is safe. Unfortunately, accidents sometimes occur resulting in severe financial losses for UK businesses. Despite a drop of 6% in the number of recorded fires in non-dwelling buildings compared to 2009-10, Government statistics reveal that 24,900 fires were reported last year leading to 19 fatalities and 12,000 injuries. Of these incidents, 65% were found to be accidental. If the mains power does fail, ensuring a reliable and continuous supply of backup power for critical life safety systems, such as emergency lighting, is essential. Responsibility for this will usually fall to a facilities manager.
Emergency lightingAs the name suggests, emergency lighting will be automatically illuminated during an emergency situation such as a mains power failure or fire. Emergency lighting ensures that escape routes are adequately lit so that occupants can vacate a building quickly and safely. There are three basic types of emergency lighting.
- Non-maintained - Emergency lighting only illuminates in the event of a mains failure.
- Maintained - Emergency lighting remains illuminated at all times using the same lamps for both normal and emergency operation.
- Sustained - The emergency lighting is fitted with two lamps. One operates on mains AC supply, the other operates from a battery supply in the event of mains failure. This is essentially a non-maintained system with the addition of mains lamps that should be illuminated whenever a building is occupied.