The importance of emergency lighting


The importance of emergency lighting


The safety lighting is used for marking pathways, obstacles, and changes of direction to the outputs so that users can safely evacuate the premises and effective institutions, including people with disabilities.


This type of lighting allows minimum illumination to avoid panic movements and so that the emergency services can intervene easily. In this article, we explain everything you need to know about emergency lighting.


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1. WHAT IS EMERGENCY LIGHTING?

Security lighting is often LED lighting, ensuring the recognition and safe use of means of escape and allowing evacuation from a building in the event of failure of normal artificial lighting.


Emergency lighting is governed by specific prescriptions provided for in the legislation which sets the basic standards for prevention against fire and explosion (Royal Decree of 7 July 1994 setting the basic standards for prevention against fire and the explosion that new buildings must meet).


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2. THE MAIN FUNCTIONS OF EMERGENCY LIGHTING

Emergency lighting provides two main functions:


Evacuation lighting

This type of lighting is used to access outside the building by ensuring that pathways, indications markup, obstacles, and other indications are well-lit.


The installation of evacuation lighting must be done at each change of direction, at least every 15 meters. The blocks that make up this lighting are 45 Lumens type.


Ambient / anti-panic lighting

This type of emergency lighting allows staff to orient themselves anywhere in the building. It must be based on an assigned luminous flux of at least 5 Lumens / m² of room surface.


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3. THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EMERGENCY LIGHTING: BAES, BAEH, LSC

There are three families of autonomous blocks:


- autonomous BAES emergency, emergency lighting units;


- autonomous BAES ambiance emergency lighting units ;


- BAEH autonomous home security lighting units.


Evacuation and ambiance BAES

BAES means Autonomous Blocks security lighting and is also known under the name of emergency units. These are evacuation light sources intended to illuminate and indicate exits in buildings in the event of the main lighting failure or in the event of an emergency evacuation.



BAEH for homes

Autonomous Lighting Blocks for Housing ( BAEH ) are generally dedicated to residential premises and are light blocks that have longer autonomy periods compared to BAES. The BAEH complements the role of the BAES, in particular in the rooms intended for sleeping.


Although this is not specified by the decree of January 31, 1986, relating to the fire protection of buildings, it is strongly recommended to ensure:


Signage of access doors to protected stairs;

The circulation lighting allows the building to be evacuated by the same type of emergency lighting;

The installation of the BAES was intended for the evacuation of the parts in basements.

LSC

The lights on Source Centralized or LSC are imposed by regulators in theaters, shopping malls, dance halls, exhibitions, and fairs when the number to be admitted exceeds 700 people. 


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This type of lighting must be installed in a building in accordance with regulatory requirements to ensure visibility of signage and a minimum level of illumination so that users can be evacuated in the event of a problem. This lighting, therefore, ensures the rapid evacuation of people and facilitates the intervention of the emergency services when danger occurs.


4. REGULATIONS RELATED TO EMERGENCY LIGHTING


The blocks used to carry out emergency lighting must meet standard specifications and must be chosen according to the characteristics of the premises. There is no room for improvisation for this installation dedicated to the safety of people and to promote their proper evacuation in case of emergency.


Thus, emergency lighting must be installed according to the regulations of the premises concerned. Its characteristics meet a set of normative requirements and must undergo regular testing to ensure that it performs well.


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There are three main regulations. The decree of January 31, 1986, lays down the rules relating to residential buildings while establishments that receive workers are dealt with by that of February 26, 2003, taken in application of article 15 of the decree of November 14, 1988, relating to the protection of workers against electric currents. Finally, establishments open to the public have safety regulations modified by the order of 19 November 2001. Generally, the expected performance of the equipment is identical.


What power source for emergency lighting?

Normal lighting and emergency lighting must be electric. In the event of a mains power failure, replacement lighting can replace normal lighting. This alternate source is generally supplied by a generator and installed mainly to ensure the continuity of the operation of the premises.


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With regard to security lighting, it supplements the normal system in order to ensure the panic-free evacuation of users in an establishment.


The emergency lighting can be powered by a centralized source, which is compulsory from a certain threshold of people and operating on a set of batteries and autonomously, which is the case for 80% of French equipment. In the latter case, the electrical energy is supplied by a battery in constant charge onboard the luminaire. These high-temperature cadmium-nickel-type batteries are confined in a small space and in permanent charge.

What are the rules for activating emergency light units?

The regulations require that emergency lighting be switched off in all establishments open to the public and in establishments receiving workers once all buildings are inaccessible to the public and normal lighting has already been switched off. The security and ambient light units then systematically return to the standby state when normal lighting is restored.


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Bringing stand-alone lighting and security units to rest is a mandatory regulatory provision to be observed when establishments are closed. Its purpose is to prevent the blocks from unloading. when the normal lighting is switched off on a voluntary basis and to ensure that the security lighting will be operational again when the establishment is opened. It also aims to prevent premature wear of the batteries and therefore preserve the life of emergency lighting units.


Standard, SATI, or addressable systems

According to the regulations, it is mandatory to check every month the ability of the unit to switch to "emergency", in other words, it is necessary to ensure that there is an emergency lamp, a standby lamp, and a battery.


In addition, the battery operating time should also be checked every six months. Standard devices do not have any automatic device, checks are entrusted to the person in charge of maintenance.


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Some standard devices have a SATI (Automatic Integrated Test System), which has the role of ensuring all regulatory checks. Another category called addressable, groups together SATI devices that no longer require a technical survey since all the information relating to the state of the devices is stored in a specific management center.


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