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Emergency Lighting Planning

The installation of emergency luminaries and fire exit signs in a premises must meet current legislation and also be agreeable with the business owner. It is impossible to specify the requirement of signs within a building without carrying out a full survey. The requirements of legislation must then be met:

  • The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 state that final exits and locations where the escape route may be unclear must have signs installed to reduce uncertainty
  • The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires installed signs to comply with BS 5266-1 and BS EN 60598-2-22
  • Building Regulations also require compliance to BS 5266-1
  • Local Authorities and Fire Prevention Officers will have preferences as to the requirements of signage and lighting, so seeking their views is always advisable

In order to ensure compliance with the most up to date legislation we have created a simple 6 step guide for you to follow. The guide is designed to help proprietors or people responsible for emergency lighting provisions to think about the many aspects of evacuation and escape.

Step 1

Complete a walk around your premises noting large open areas, potential hazards to users in an evacuation, any high-risk liquid storage areas and areas where there may be sources of ignition.

Step 2

Identify who may be at risk and what route users would take if an emergency were to occur and evacuation of the premises was needed.

Step 3

A full evaluation of fire safety equipment and evacuation measures must be completed to ensure that the systems in place are appropriate for the premises, taking the following into consideration:

  • Fire fighting and first aid equipment
  • Fire detection and alarm / warning systems
  • Location of potential evacuation hazards
  • Employees' understanding of escape routes and evacuation
  • Testing of emergency equipment and frequency
  • High-risk areas and sources of ignition

Step 4

From the evaluation carried out in step 3 a plan of improvements to existing systems and equipment must be written up. These changes then need implementing to ensure that the emergency lighting system in place is adequate and complies to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and BS 5266-1, the emergency lighting code of practice.

Step 5

A record of any of the findings from the evaluation and improvements made to the emergency lighting system need to be documented and stored in a safe location. A formal plan must also be written into the document to state the frequency of testing the lighting units and how it will be carried out.

Step 6

The emergency lighting document needs to be reviewed regularly and revised should any changes to the premises and / or legislation be made. Changes should be recorded within the document.


Reviewed: 01/07/2019 (doc:70 V1.1). 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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