BAFE publish important considerations for users of emergency lighting systems during and after premises lockdown

Monday 9th November 2020
Chris Watts of Eaton Lighting offers guidance for BAFE on behalf of the BAFE SP203 Monitoring Group. BAFE SP203-4 is for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of emergency lighting systems.

Any period of shutdown generates potential problems and opportunities for testing and servicing of emergency lighting systems. The current lockdowns have an added dimension as it applies to sites that are not normally unoccupied and people responsible for the operation of the system should consider the implications of the lockdown.


Action to protect the emergency lighting system

There is a need to protect the equipment if it is exposed to prolonged periods of the supply being disconnected. As a general principle, if possible, the supply to emergency lighting units should not be disconnected while the premises are empty. If it is essential for operational reasons that the mains supply is disconnected, then any sealed lead acid batteries should be charged and then disconnected to avoid leaving them for a prolonged period in a discharged condition which could cause permanent cell damage. While this action should be reasonably easy on central battery systems, many beam projector units also need battery disconnection.


Opportunities to conduct testing and servicing of systems

During a shutdown premises have fewer occupants than normal, so full rated discharge tests can be conducted without inconvenience to users or putting occupants at risk. Service actions such as the replacement of batteries or complete luminaires can performed, and the repaired system checked to ensure it complies to the original system design. Even if no service or testing action is taken it is recommended that the procedures in the lockdown are recorded in the system log book particularly for example if lack of access requires monthly system tests to be omitted.


Action to be taken to restore and check the system for prior to full reoccupation

Reconnect batteries or any other parts of the emergency system that have been disconnected to protect the emergency lighting system during prolonged mains supply disconnection.Even if the system has not been disconnected from the normal supply during the shutdown it is recommended that a full rated discharge test is performed before the premises are reoccupied. If virus protection has resulted in the introduction of specific routes or shielding barriers then checks should be made to ensure that access to fire escape routes is still adequate. If the fire route is not clear additional precautions such as illuminated fire exit route signs should be provided.

- Information provided by Chris Watts and Ian Watts (Eaton Lighting/BAFE SP203 Monitoring Group)

For any assistance required with your emergency lighting system don’t just specify, verify! Make sure their Third Party Certification is appropriate for the work you require. For these services, check your provider is Third Party Certificated and BAFE Registered to the BAFE SP203-4 Scheme (holding the appropriate module/s). For further information on the BAFE SP203-4 Emergency Lighting Scheme visit: