Emergency lighting guide

This post was written in 2011 and a more recent version exists. Please read our new guide: what you need to know about emergency lighting.

Planning your emergency lighting can be quite daunting and appear very complicated. We have developed an emergency lighting guide to help with all the issues of planning where to install your emergency lights.

The guide has been developed through answering customer questions on emergency lighting installation, ensuring that we are answering the questions you want to ask.  The guide covers topics such as planning, location, types of lights, signs and testing your emergency lights.

The emergency lighting planning section goes through six steps to ensure that you comply to the most update legislation, including the Health & Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The guide is designed to help proprietors or people responsible for emergency lighting provisions to think about the many aspects of evacuation and escape.

The section on where to locate your emergency lighting covers every day areas such as corridors and junctions, where there may be a change in direction to stairways, steps and ramps as well as exits and fire and first aid points. There is also a section for areas that are not so common, covering large open areas, generators or heavy machinery, escalators and lifts. Each of the sections gives a comprehensive guide to which compliant emergency light is available, giving you the overview and possibility to choose the correct lighting not only for location but also in accordance with your budget.

Emergency lighting is only one section of this guide. The guide also covers the installation of safety signs, again giving advice in accordance with the Health & Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.  It covers the requirement of externally illuminated signs or  internally illuminated fire exit signs.

Once the type of emergency lighting has been selected and the correct emergency exit or fire exit signs have been purchased it is critical to have some knowledge of the testing requirements as set down in the British Standard BS 5266-1:1999.

The emergency lighting guide looks at monthly testing, half yearly testing and testing of appliances that are three years old. It is the role of the designated responsible person to ensure that the emergency lighting, once it is installed, is working according to the legislation. When purchasing emergency lighting from Safelincs you can choose to register for a reminder at the end of the checkout process and we will automatically send you reminders to test your emergency lighting when the lighting is coming up for testing.

For recording your emergency lighting tests you can also download our free fire safety log book.

To make your assessment and planning of your emergency lighting as problem free as possible view the comprehensive guide

Why photoluminescent fire escape route signs?

Photoluminescent or ‘glow-in-the-dark’ signs are a low-cost method of providing strong guidance and direction in the event of a power failure at night. They work in addition to the statutory emergency lighting required. Good photoluminescent signs really glow and stand out after the lighting power supply has failed which helps to reduce confusion and lack of orientation in an emergency situation. You can use photoluminescent signs for escape route marking, to mark assembly points, fire points, fire extinguishers signs and many more fire safety applications.

Knowing the importance of quality photoluminescent fire safety signs, we have worked with Jalite for many years. Jalite is the undisputed leader in the manufacture of photoluminescent signs and Safelincs only supplies Jalite’s most superior ‘AAA’ grade. Since Jalite’s foundation in 1983 the technical properties of photoluminescent materials have changed drastically from providing a novelty value through to life saving high performance materials.

Jalite have engineered a product that contains rare earth aluminate compounds within a coating that is energised in a very short time by the ultra violet and blue light wavelength energy that is present in nearly all forms of light source.  Jalite materials require only seconds to energise even at very low light levels!

Which fire safety products are dangerous goods in transit?

Some fire safety products, such as fire extinguishers, smoke detector tester aerosols and batteries, are classed as dangerous goods. Here at Safelincs, we consider all aspects of storage, packaging, declaration and transportation of dangerous goods so that you have peace of mind that your shipments are correctly packaged and transported.

We have designated formally trained staff who are our in-house specialists to

Warehouse operative sticking a dangerous goods sticker on a shipment.
Safelincs have detailed procedures in place to ensure ADR and IMDG requirements are met

assess, prepare and pack shipments according to current guidelines and declare shipments in the appropriate manner.

To adhere to the strict regulations outlined through ADR (road service) and IMDG (sea freight), Safelincs produced a thorough dangerous goods procedure for each product classed as hazardous, ensuring that all the requirements for dangerous goods regulations are adhered to.  Within this procedure, each product type is described, and our trained staff are aware of all the classifications, which mode of transport can be used, and if Dangerous Goods Notes are required for the movement of goods.

By working closely with our shipping companies and keeping up to date with dangerous goods regulations through yearly re-training we ensure the protection of our customers and all carriers/freight companies used.

New FAQ Compilation for Dorgard Fire Door Retainer

The Dorgard is one of our most popular products. It helps our customers to stay legally compliant and at the same time keeps fire doors open when there are periods of high footfall or when the temperature gets stifling during the summer. The Dorgard comes with a very handy and thorough manual. Nevertheless, we do get asked a few questions and to help our customers, we now have compiled an overview of all the questions asked and the answers to them.

1.) Can the Dorgard operate at only one decibel level?

Our Dorgard reacts to a sound level adjustable between 65 dB and 85 dB, so all sounds in excess of 65 dB will activate the Dorgard. This complies with BS 5839 which gives 65 dB as the minimum sound level for fire alarms.

In situations where the ambient noise level is above 80 dB, Dorgard has a safety feature that allows it to release automatically to all sounds above 65 dB as you would probably not hear a 65 dB fire alarm over the noise level in this situation.

The Dorgard is also capable of being adjusted to operate to the sound level of an individual fire alarm making it adaptable to any particular environment.

2.) When a fire alarm sounds why does Dorgard not close the door immediately?

Dorgard only listens for a sound every 4 seconds and the sound has to be continuous for 10 seconds for it to operate. This helps to preserve the battery life of the unit and means the operation should not be delayed by any more than 14 seconds.

This compares with other similar retainers that are wired into the fire alarm system and have a built-in delay.

3.) Is the Dorgard a fail-safe product?

In the event that the batteries reach a low voltage or the battery compartment is tampered with or opened, Dorgard will automatically release its plunger, closing the door, thus making the design fail->safe. The plunger cannot be used to keep the door open if there are no batteries in the unit or the batteries have no voltage left.

When the batteries are running low, an audible warning will be sounded every 17 minutes in the form of a series of beeps and a red LED will flash to warn of the depleting batteries until they are fully exhausted, removed or replaced.

As part of your yearly regular fire alarm checks the Dorgard batteries should be renewed as required.

The Dorgard will perform its’ built in self-test by releasing the open door every 7 days.

4.) Is there a formal standard that the Dorgard complies with?

Dorgard complies with the new standard for low voltage hold open devices, BS EN 1155.

5.) Will the closing of a fire door by a Dorgard affect other units by restricting the sound through the closed door?

The operation of the Dorgard, or the ability to hear the fire alarm, should not be affected provided the sound level stated in BS 5839 is adhered to throughout the building.

Dorgards can be adjusted if the sound level does drop slightly within performance limits.

6.) Where to fit Dorgard?

Where there is a need to hold open a fire door to enable the movement and circulation of people around a building, Dorgard can be fitted to self-closing fire doors. The building must have a fire alarm and a risk assessment carried out by the employer to check the suitability of using a Dorgard as some high risk areas e.g. kitchens, boiler rooms and doors protecting a single staircase building may not be appropriate.

7.) If the fire alarm system fails how can Dorgard fail-safe?

Within the risk assessment for the building there should be an instruction that in the event of a failure in the fire alarm system all door hold-open devices should be deactivated, though this should be a rare event as the majority of systems have to have emergency backup power supplies which means they should continue to work in the event of a fault. A Do Not Use warning label should be placed over the unit when deactivated and can be removed once the fire alarm system is restored.

8.) Where a door is fitted with a Dorgard, does there need to be a smoke detector sited on each side?

For the earliest detection of fire and sounding the alarm, it is better to have smoke detectors in adjacent rooms, as the Dorgard is triggered by the sound of the alarm.

9.) Is the Dorgard suitable in sleeping risk premises?

Yes. The Dorgard can hold a fire door open to maintain the functionality of the building by allowing an uninterrupted flow of people through the building during the day and releasing the fire door to close in the evening. You can also adjust the Dorgard to automatically close at night.

10.) Can door warping be prevented by using Dorgard?

To prevent warping, Dorgard self-tests every seven days which helps to ensure reliability and alleviate stress to the door, which on doors that are wedged open for long periods of time, would cause warping. This self-testing also helps to prevent seizure of the overhead door closer by allowing it to cycle itself.

11.) Can the Dorgard test itself?

A self-test routine is run every seven days by the Dorgard. The plunger is released, closing the door and the unit will emit a warning alarm if a fault is detected.

12.) Does a fire alarm audibility test need to be carried out before fitting Dorgard?

As Dorgard is an audio sensing device that can be adjusted within certain limits, it is not necessary to carry out a test before the installation. If the Dorgard cannot “hear” the alarm to respond to it, the likelihood is that the alarm is not sounding at the minimum level required by BS 5839 which should alert the user to a problem with the alarm system that will require remedial action. The Dorgard should be removed until the alarm has been rectified to meet the minimum sound level required by the Standard.

13.) When Dorgards have been fitted should employees be made aware of them?

Employees should be informed about Dorgard and instructed on its use and operation. It should also be included in the workplace fire routine.

14.) Will the Dorgard release automatically at night?

Yes, if set to do so. There are three timed setting options for night time release which the installer can select prior to installation. The unit’s internal clock must be powered up at midday 12:00hrs to inform the unit what time it is. The installer then selects the setting required by activating a switch on the unit and Dorgard will then release each night at the pre-determined time. The unit will not be operational as a door retainer until it automatically resets itself the following morning.

Text Phone for Hearing Impaired Customers Introduced

Safelincs has always been selling fire safety equipment for deaf and hearing impaired customers. Communications prior to this were mostly via email or call center using a text phone as phone conversations were difficult for our hearing impaired customers. To improve the communication we have now launched a text phone. This computer sized device allows instant typed communication directly with the customer without the need of any intermediate call handling.

To use this service ring our freephone number 0800 612 4843.  A dedicated customer service team member will deal with your text calls.

The need for a text phone was identified through the customer care team and your survey replies. We take all our survey replies and comments seriously and wherever possible will act upon suggestions made.