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Emergency Lighting and Signs FAQs

What is LED emergency lighting?

LED emergency lights use less energy than emergency lights with traditional fluorescent bulbs and contain less harmful waste. The trickle charge of the battery even with the light off is also lower. LED lights are also longer lasting than tubes.

Whilst Cadmium for use in emergency lighting is currently still allowed, our range of LED emergency lighting products only uses NiMH batteries, which are more environmentally friendly. Government financial assistance is also available to switch to low energy emergency lighting and exit signs, see www.eca.gov.uk.

What are IP ratings?

The IP rating system classifies the protection of emergency lights and exit signs from dust, water and impact afforded by electrical equipment and their enclosures.

The system is recognised in most European countries and is set out in IEC529 (BS EN 60529: 1992) Degrees of Protection provided by Enclosures (IP code).

The degree of protection is expressed as 'IP', followed by two numbers which define the degree of protection. The first digit indicates the extent, to which the equipment is protected against particles, or to which persons are protected from enclosed hazards. The second digit indicates the extent of protection against water.

IP20

(2) SOLID - Protected against solid objects over 12mm diameter, not exceeding 80mm long, e.g. fingers
(0) LIQUID - Not protected

IP23

(2) SOLID - Protected against solid objects over 12mm diameter, not exceeding 80mm long, e.g. fingers
(3) LIQUID - Protected against sprayed water at up to 60° from the vertical

IP40

(4) SOLID - Protects against solid objects over 1.0mm, e.g. small wires
(0) LIQUID - Not protected

IP43

(4) SOLID - Protects against solid objects over 1.0mm, e.g. small wires
(3) LIQUID - Protected against sprayed water at up to 60° from the vertical

IP44

(4) SOLID - Protects against solid objects over 1.0mm, e.g. small wires
(4) LIQUID - Protected when sprayed from any direction - limited ingress allowed

IP54

(5) SOLID - Protects against dust, limited ingress (no harmful deposit)
(4) LIQUID - Protected when sprayed from any direction - limited ingress allowed

IP55

(5) SOLID - Protects against dust, limited ingress (no harmful deposit)
(5) LIQUID - Protected against low pressure jets, from all directions - limited ingress allowed

IP64

(6) SOLID - Dust tight. Totally protected against dust
(4) LIQUID - Protected when sprayed from any direction - limited ingress allowed

IP65

(6) SOLID - Dust tight. Totally protected against dust
(5) LIQUID - Protected against low pressure jets, from all directions - limited ingress allowed

How are emergency lights installed?

The emergency lights can be either screwed to the wall or ceiling. The product is linked into the mains lighting system. Often, an interrupt switch is installed to allow the testing of the emergency light (also called fish key switch).

What is a self-contained luminaire?

An emergency light or sign that either contains all the parts necessary to function independently (e.g. battery, lamp, control gear, etc.) or whose housing is sited within a metre of these parts.

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.

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.

Which emergency lights are both an emergency light and ordinary light, providing light for daily use and also a 3 hour emergency light in case of mains power failure?

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.

 

(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.