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Everything you need to know about emergency and exit lighting

  • Emergency exit lighting

Emergency and exit lighting is designed to help people navigate out of a building or workplace safely and efficiently.

Below we’ve answered your most common questions, you can also find out about our inspection and maintenance services for emergency lighting here.

Emergency and exit lighting is a legal requirement for all public buildings in Australia.

It’s standard in hospitals, cinemas, shopping centres, and corporate dwellings, as well as most workplaces to ensure occupants can safely exit in the event of an emergency evacuation.

Australian law stipulates that emergency and exit lighting should be functioning and regularly tested in all buildings that are used by the public. We have over 15 years of experience installing, maintaining and testing emergency and exit lighting for our clients in Melbourne. If you need help with your emergency lighting, we are your go-to local electricians.

When are Emergency Lights required?

Exit and emergency lights are required to help occupants safely enter and exit a building, the main requirement is wayfinding to safely evacuate all occupants.

For example, in the event of a fire the illuminated pathway can help to reduce panic and prevent occupants from getting lost.

Emergency lights should provide lighting for a minimum of 90 minutes after the power has failed.

Why are Emergency Lights required?

If the power fails in the building, occupants could find themselves in sudden darkness.

Emergency lighting is designed to illuminate a clear and safe passage out of the building.

Exit and path-finder lighting is an essential part of a commercial or public services building’s structure, to ensure your staff, any guests or the general public can safely evacuate and avoid any physical danger (like getting lost, tripping or falling).

The Australian Standards set out in ‘AS 2293.1:2018 part 1: system design, installation and operation, provides guidance for building managers and business owners which you can reference if needed.

There are additional requirements for hospitals and residential aged care facilities. If you need help we can guide you through the codes and help you ensure you’re fully compliant.

How do you install Emergency Exit lights?

Step One

First we check that all units will be placed in appropriate spots, to create a clear passage for efficient wayfinding to emergency exits. We use your approved fire safety plan as a guide.

Step Two

We pay careful attention to illuminate any steps, stairwells, landings, and areas with sudden or unexpected level changes that could potentially result in a fall.

We also ensure there’s adequate lighting for corridor intersections and direction changes.

Step Three

We consider access points to fire alarms, and any other areas that are important to your business.

You can also add to this if there are additional areas where you think lighting is necessary.

Step Four

We install all lighting in the designated spots and test this every couple of months (as required by the safety codes for your industry).

Briggs Electrical offers a full installation, along with ongoing maintenance services for your building’s emergency and exit lighting needs. We’re here to support your business or workplace and ensure you’re compliant with the Australian emergency lighting code requirements.

Where is the code for Emergency Lighting?

If you’d like to reference the guidelines, you can find more information via Energy Safe Victoria and find out about the rules in Melbourne and Victoria.

Should Emergency Exit lights be on all the time?

While emergency lighting doesn’t need to be on all the time, the lights should have their own consistent power source in the event the main power goes out.

Emergency lights in Australia should have their own self-contained power source which comes into effect if there’s a power failure or emergency situation.

Emergency light testing

How do Emergency Lighting circuits work?

Emergency lights run off alternating current (AC), but each unit is fitted with its own battery called direct current (DC).

When the power goes out, the AC power running through the building to the circuits turns off; this is why exit and emergency lighting systems need to have their own power source.

The backup batteries should immediately take over when power is lost in the building. When the AC power is restored the emergency lighting batteries will need to be recharged.

If you need an emergency electrician, contact Briggs Electrical; we can help ensure your emergency lighting circuits are functioning properly.

How do you Fix an Emergency Exit sign?

The Australian safety standards require emergency exit signs to be tested at least every 6 months. They should remain illuminated for a minimum of 90 minutes – most have a small “push to test” button on the casing.

If for any reason the light doesn’t illuminate (or remain illuminated) for the duration of the testing time, we’ll troubleshoot to fix the problem and replace any lights that aren’t working.

Testing your emergency lighting system and ensuring it’s functioning properly at all times is a legal responsibility.

If the lights don’t pass the test then a certified electrician should be booked to fix the issue.

Contact Briggs Electrical today for emergency light testing, we can let you know what needs to be done to get your emergency lights compliant.

Do Emergency Lights have to be on their own circuit?

Emergency lights normally have their own circuits with separate battery powered sources.

Most emergency and exit lights are attached to the main buildings AC power as normal, but if the main power goes out, such as in the case of an emergency situation, the lights need their own power source to continue to function without interruption.

What about smoke alarms?

If you’re wondering if smoke alarms are required in commercial buildings, the short answer is yes – commercial buildings need smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are legally required in all buildings and similarly to your emergency lighting systems, they each have their own batteries which need to be tested regularly.

For our commercial clients, we include checking emergency and exit lighting, smoke alarms and monoxide alarms in our maintenance packages.

Need urgent help with your Exit and Emergency Lights?

Contact Briggs electricians for emergency light inspections and ongoing maintenance packages.

We can help you ensure your building is safe and compliant and answer any questions you have about your obligations and requirements in a commercial setting.

Call us 24/7 on 1300 300 222 or lodge a job online.