An essential part of any fire risk assessment is the ability to safely evacuate a building in the event of a fire. It is therefore necessary to ensure that there is adequate lighting, to enable evacuation to the nearest exit. This is especially so if the main lighting has failed directly or indirectly as a result of the fire. Most emergency lighting fittings have stand by batteries that will keep the lamp illuminated for three hours. The reason being, it allows escape lighting not only for persons leaving the property, but for fire fighters entering the building.
It is therefore recommended that the emergency lighting is tested each month, to ensure that they will work in the event of the main lighting failing. The monthly test is usually done by removing the supply to the main, local lighting circuit. This should be done by a separate test switch, usually operated by a key, rather than isolating the fuse or circuit breaker to the lighting circuit. The person carrying out the test should check each individual emergency light and make sure that the backup batteries and energised the emergency lamp. On re-energising of the supply, the green charge LED on the fitting should also come back on to let the person testing the lights, that the batteries are back on charge. The test should be recorded, in a log book, along with the date of the test. Every twelve months the same test should be carried out, this time, for the full duration of the batteries (1-3 hours). The lamps should stay illuminated to maintain sufficient light levels. Any deficiencies, should be recorded in the log book and rectified as soon as possible.