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Emergency Lighting

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) 2005, which came into force in October 2006, charges the responsible person in control of non-domestic premises and the common areas of a House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) with the safety of everyone in the building, whether working, visiting or living there. This duty of care includes the provision of emergency lighting.


Emergency lighting is part of the fire safety provision of a building and cannot be ignored: as noted by the Industry Committee for Emergency Lighting (ICEL), which is the foremost UK authority on emergency lighting and provides third party accreditation for components and products for emergency light fittings under the auspices of the Lighting Industry Association (LIA):

"The legal requirement is that non-domestic buildings must be safe at all times, even if mains power failure occurs. Therefore, nearly all such buildings must have emergency lighting fitted".


In detail, as noted in the HM Government publication Fire safety risk assessment: offices and shops (p 100), an emergency escape lighting system should normally cover the following:

  • Each exit door

  • Escape routes

  • Intersection of corridors

  • Outside each final exit and on external escape routes

  • Emergency escape signs

  • Stairways so that each flight receives adequate light

  • Changes in floor level

  • Windowless rooms and toilet accommodation exceeding 8m²

  • Fire-fighting equipment

  • Fire alarm call points

  • Equipment that would need to be shut down in an emergency

  • Lifts

  • Areas in premises greater than 60m²

It is not necessary to provide individual lights (luminaires) for each item above, but there should be a sufficient overall level of light to allow them to be visible and usable.

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