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What Emergency Lighting Systems Are Available Out There?

Nov 09, 2020
What Emergency Lighting Systems Are Available Out There?

Any responsible person in control of commercial premises has to take care of the safety of everyone in the building, including both workers and visitors. This duty means the provision of emergency lighting that aids to limit the potential injury if there is a need for evacuation.

Emergency lighting solutions help to reduce the confusion and panic in case of a fire, storm or any other danger.

To guarantee the safety of employees, customers and residents, it is not only necessary to plan, design and mount the emergency lighting system, but also to maintain and test it periodically.

Depending on the location of the energy source, we can distinguish two types of emergency lightning solutions: Centralized and Self-contained Emergency lighting systems.

The Centralised Emergency Lighting System

In case of an emergency, the power comes from a central power supply via electrical cables. This system is more expensive to buy, install and maintain, although it is much easier to test and the battery lasts much longer.

The Self-Contained Emergency Lighting System

In such a system, each luminaire is fitted with its rechargeable battery and works autonomously. Since the lights are independent of the central power source, they can be used almost everywhere. Such luminaires are cheaper to buy, install and maintain, but they have short battery life and are not recommended for the environments with very cold temperature.

There are several types of emergency lighting solutions within each of these categories:

Egress Pathways and Exit Signs

Egress pathways are luminaries that glow in the dark to indicate an escape route during a blackout. They are floor-mounted and consist of small LED bulbs. These emergency lighting solutions can be found in the aisles of theatres, planes and concert halls.

Exit Signs, usually featuring red/green word EXIT, are usually mounted above the nearest exits. There are thermoplastic, self-luminous, photoluminescent and edge-lit.

Standby Lighting

Sometimes, even in the case of a power outage, the work has to continue, especially in such places as prisons, hospitals, factories and fire stations. Standby lighting allows maintaining the activities in the dark. Such emergency lights come in different constructions and sizes and can be installed indoors or outdoors.

There are several types of standby emergency lights worth mentioning:

Thermoplastic emergency lights are the most affordable. However, they are suitable for indoor use only. Such emergency solutions are used by hotels, restaurants, apartment buildings, or any other place. 

Steel emergency lights are popular for industrial and institutional appliances. For example, they are often used in offices, warehouses, and factories are the perfect solution if you are looking for affordable durability.

Wet location emergency lights are waterproof, so they can be used in locations that feature moist, water and freezing temperatures.

Architectural emergency lights not only provide the required illumination but also blend in with upscale interiors.

Hazardous location emergency lights are designed for the environments featuring flammable and ignitable vapours or gas. 

Battery back-up Duration

One has to take into consideration the duration of battery back-up. The minimum duration of 3 hours is a must for emergency escape lighting if the premises cannot guarantee immediate evacuation. This requirement applies to places of entertainment and recreation (cinemas, theatres, shopping centres, restaurants) and buildings with a sleeping risk, such as in a hotel, hospital, colleges and so on.

The premises that usually require a 1-hour duration are schools, laboratories, factories and warehouses.


The emergency lighting system is a set of battery-powered lights used in an emergency when the main power supply crashes. Such a situation may result in possible danger to the employee, customers or residents, either through physical danger or panic.

There are two main types of emergency lighting systems: centralized and self-contained, differing in their power source.

Moreover, there are different kinds of lights used for directing people out of the premises, for example, egress pathways, exit signs and standby lights, which can be thermoplastic, steel, waterproof or resistant to a hazardous environment.

The choice of the type of emergency lighting system will depend on many factors, such as type of business, size of the site and the number of exists etc.

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