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Emergency Lighting and Signs FAQs

What is an emergency light hot wire test?

The hot wire test simulates the effects of electrical heat within an emergency light to ensure that the product meets the correct standards to prevent ignition and the spread of fire should it be exposed to excess heat. It is carried out at 850 degrees Celsius, as specified in BS EN 60598-2-22.

What is an emergency luminaire?

An emergency luminaire is the technical term for an emergency light which is designed to illuminate escape areas in a mains power failure. It includes the lamp or lamps, plus all fixings, and connective and protective elements.

Can the emergency lights with IP65 rating be fitted with emergency showers?

Yes, IP65 rated emergency lights can be fitted with emergency showers as the unit is protected against low pressure jets from all directions - limited ingress permitted.

IP ratings are comprised of at least 2 digits. The IP65 rating is broken down as follows:  
  • 6: Dust tight and totally protected against dust ingress
  • 5: Protected against low pressure jets, from all directions - limited ingress allowed
Click here for a full explanation of possible IP rating values.

Which emergency lights can be used as both an emergency light and an ordinary light?

Any emergency light described as "maintained" or "switchable" on our website would meet these requirements, working as an ordinary light on mains power capable of connecting to a standard light switch while also activating from a battery when mains power fails – regardless of whether they are currently turned on or off at the light switch. We also have a range of designer emergency lights for units which suit more modern interiors such as offices and homes.

Please note that "non-maintained" emergency lights cannot operate as "maintained" lights and will only provide illumination during a mains power failure, and "slave" or "central battery" lights do not contain their own battery and must be connected to a large central battery system in order to provide emergency illumination. Click here for an overview of different types of emergency light operation.

What is the difference between maintained and non-maintained emergency lighting?

A maintained emergency light is always on and will stay illuminated in the event of a power failure. These lights are usually installed in communal areas such as corridors and stair wells.

A non-maintained emergency light only comes on in the event of a power failure. These lights will usually be installed in areas that don't need a permanent light source.

Can maintained emergency lights be installed as non-maintained?

Yes, if you have a maintained emergency light fitting, it is possible to install the unit as non-maintained. During installation, the "link wire" would need to be removed. We strongly recommend that emergency lights are installed by an electrician.

How should emergency lights be installed?

Emergency lights should be installed by a qualified electrician and can usually be either ceiling or wall mounted.

The lights are connected to the buildings mains power circuits which keeps the backup battery charged. In the event of a power failure the emergency light will continue to operate under the power of the back-up battery.

Emergency lights are usually installed with a test switch (fish key switch) on their circuit which allows them to be tested by interrupting the mains power supply to the lights only.

What is a self-contained luminaire?

A self-contained emergency luminaire is an emergency light that contains all the parts necessary to function independently, such as back-up battery, lamp, control gear. Most emergency lights are self-contained - the exception are slave luminaires.

What are IP ratings?

IP ratings are used as a measure of how well electrical equipment, such as an emergency light or fire exit sign, can resist dust particles and water.

IP stands for "ingress protection", and the two digits indicate the following:

  • First digit: level of protection against solids (intrusion protection)
  • Second digit: level of protection against liquids (moisture protection)

With 0 meaning no protection and 6 being the highest level of protection.

Digit Intrusion protection Moisture protection
0 No protection No protection
1 Protected against solid objects over 50mm in diameter (e.g. hands) Protected against falling drops of moisture (e.g. condensation)
2 Protected against solid objects over 12mm diameter, not exceeding 80mm long (e.g. fingers) Protected against sprayed water at up to 15° from the vertical
3 Protected against solid objects over 2.5 mm (e.g. tools) Protected against sprayed water at up to 60° from the vertical
4 Protects against solid objects over 1.0mm (e.g. small wires, screws, nails, insects) Protected against water splashes from all directions
5 Partial protection against dust that may harm equipment Protected against low pressure jets, from all directions - limited ingress allowed
6 Dust tight - totally protected against dust Protected against strong jets of water

For example, if an emergency light or fire exit sign is rated IP54, it is protected against dust and water sprayed from any direction.

What is LED emergency lighting?

LED emergency lighting is used to signpost emergency exit routes. It is more energy efficient than traditional flourescent bulbs and last longer than flourescent tubes. LED bulbs are considered more environmentally friendly as they use less energy while also containing less harmful waste.

Government financial assistance is also available to switch to low energy emergency lighting and exit signs.

Where should I position my fire safety signs?

Please see our fire safety sign help guides to find out where to position fire extinguisher signs, fire exit signs and escape route signs.


(doc:540 V1.0). Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.


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