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How is Emergency Lighting Testing Conducted?

Once an Emergency Lighting system has been installed, it should be tested regularly to ensure that it satisfies the requirements of the emergency lighting system and that it operates correctly in an emergency situation.

The testing of the Emergency Lighting system can be carried out either manually or automatically.

Manual Testing of an Emergency Lighting system

A simulated mains failure can be achieved by providing a switch which will isolate all lighting circuits, individual circuits or individual luminaires.

The system is tested by simulating the mains failure by using the supplied switch(es).  Once the circuit(s) or luminaire has been isolated the tester should walk the circuit to check that all emergency lighting luminaires are operating correctly.  After restoring the power to the circuit(s) or luminaire the tester should walk the circuit again to ensure that the emergency lights are recharging.

Disadvantages to manual testing of the emergency lighting system include the cost of an engineer to carry out the testing, and also the potential for disruption to normal activities due to the power to a lighting circuit being isolated.

Automatic Testing of an Emergency Lighting System

An automatic emergency lighting testing system will automatically interrupt the mains power supply to a luminaire or a group of luminaires and detect that the emergency luminaire operates correct, and upon reinstating the mains power supply it will ensure that the battery charges.

The information is collated centrally, allowing the facilities management or building management to collate the testing results.  These test results must still be recorded and collated along with the Commissioning Certificate and Log Book for the system.

BS EN 50172:2004 / BS 5266-8:2004 (Emergency escape lighting systems) specifies the minimum provision and testing of emergency lighting for different premises. Additional information on servicing can be found in BS 5266-1: 2011 (Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises).