Emergency lighting

The availability of an emergency lighting system, in workplaces and activities subject to crowding, is a fundamental safeguard for the safety of occupants and rescuers in the event of an emergency.
During or following a critical event (fire, earthquake, flood, etc. ), the ordinary power supply may not be operational because it is damaged by the event itself or because it has been properly deactivated by rescue workers.
With emergency lighting, lighting technology can make a valuable contribution to safety. There are many cases in which the continuity of the service rendered by light helps the occupants to get to safety by identifying the exits, travelling easily and quickly along the escape routes, counteracting the panic that is often created in these situations.
In order to avoid any danger, it is essential to have emergency lamps in place so as to avoid problems if the power goes out.

The different functionalities of emergency lighting

Emergency lighting is a generic term, which indicates that part of the lighting available even in the absence of the ordinary power supply and, in the absence of the latter, aims at the protection and safety of people during the evacuation of a room, as well as the safety of those who are busy carrying out a potentially dangerous operation before leaving that high-risk activity.
During an emergency, in fact, it is necessary to protect the rescuers, who have to operate in high risk areas, and to allow the workers to secure machinery and installations in case the lack of electricity and ordinary lighting could give rise to critical consequences.
A careful design, which respects the reference technical standards, raises the level of safety and maintains the required requirements over time, ensuring the protection of people in case of critical events.

Difference between emergency lighting and backup lighting

The main European reference standard, UNI EN 1838 "Emergency lighting", establishes what should be understood by the term emergency and specifies that emergency lighting includes emergency lighting and backup lighting.
It is therefore necessary to distinguish between emergency lighting and emergency signalling equipment.
Since the ageing of emergency luminaires, like any other device, is normal and unavoidable, maintaining their good functioning requires periodic checks and maintenance. In fact, it is necessary to be aware of the role and importance of proper maintenance of emergency lighting systems, highlighting the related legal obligations and the responsibility profiles related to these obligations.
The emergency lighting is designed for the mobility of people and is able to prevent possible human damage, while the backup lighting allows you to continue to carry out current activities and prevents possible economic damage. In the latter case, the level of illuminance must be at least equal to that of ordinary lighting and lower illuminance is only permitted to complete the operations in progress.
The safety light must be distributed in the areas to be considered critical, i. e. the exits to the outside, evacuation routes, steps, passages, height differences, stairs, places with obstacles.
The lighting must ensure adequate illumination and, at the same time, act as a visual guide, clearly signalling to people the evacuation routes studied during the design phase as the most functional to preserve their safety and make them safe.
With emergency lighting, therefore, three objectives are pursued: to make escape routes passable, to avoid panic situations, to guarantee the safety of people engaged in hazardous work or situations.
The emergency escape route lighting must ensure an adequate level of escape route lighting and safe identification of the building's emergency exits. It shall also ensure immediate identification of alarms and fire-fighting equipment along escape routes.
Anti-panic emergency lighting is used to prevent panic and provide the necessary lighting for people to reach emergency exits; this is particularly useful in rooms open to the public, hospitals, old people's homes, theatres, indoor sports facilities, etc.
Emergency lighting for high-risk places must ensure that safety procedures are carried out to prevent potentially dangerous processes; this translates into higher minimum illuminance levels and greater timeliness.

Where to install emergency lamps

Emergency lighting can be provided by centralised systems and/or individual luminaires with autonomous power supply. During the design and construction of the system, certain technical characteristics must be taken into account, such as the intervention time of the backup power supply, the autonomy, the minimum illuminance level and the recharge time of the accumulators. Safety and emergency lighting must be installed in accordance with the regulations and Ministerial Decrees: the lights must be placed in any crowded environment, such as schools and workplaces, hospitals, entertainment venues, etc. Emergency lighting must also be installed in the home.

How to choose the right emergency lights for every room

One often thinks of emergency lights as aseptic components, disturbing elements in the furnishing of a room, but this is not necessarily the case: in fact, there are several companies that offer valid and reliable products from the regulatory point of view, without neglecting the aesthetic aspect.
Emergency lamps must be able to blend in and be less conspicuous, integrated as much as possible with the rest of the environment.
Another important issue concerns consumption: in order to reduce it and to respect the environment, LED emergency lamps have been created, which require considerably less energy for continuous use and recharging. In addition, LED lamps have a much longer life than other types of lighting and do not contain harmful gases and toxic substances.

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