Emergency Lighting Systems
Emergency procedures must be in place and practiced to ensure safe evacuation in the event of a fire or power loss within a building according to Irish Standards 3217 2013.Employers are required by law to prepare and revise adequate emergency plans and procedures and provide the necessary measures for evacuation and fire fighting of the workplace and to include adequate escape lighting in the event of a fire and power loss.
As an employer you must carry out a risk assessment to ensure that the means of escape remains adequate. If, as a result of your risk assessment, you propose making any changes to the means of escape, you should consult the fire authority before making any changes. When assessing the adequacy of the means of escape you will need to take into account:
- the findings of your fire risk assessment
- the workplace activity, where people may be situated in the workplace and what they may be doing when a fire occurs
- the number of people who may be present, and their familiarity with the workplace
- their ability to escape without assistance
- the size of the workplace, its construction, layout, contents and the number and width of the available escape routes.
All workplaces must have clearly identified means of escape in the event of fire. These escape routes must be kept clear at all times to ensure that everyone can exit the workplace in the event of a fire or other emergency. Take care if placing notice boards in escape corridors/ routes as any paper on the board could be fuel in the event of a fire. Arrangements must be conveyed to all those occupying the workplace and particularly to personnel such as fire wardens who will be assisting in overseeing any emergency evacuation. To understand what type of emergency evacuation routes might be needed, consideration should be given to the relevant Building Regulations.
Fire detection, emergency lighting and emergency egress must also be addressed. Regulations require that “emergency routes and exits requiring illumination are provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in case the lighting fails”. Two standards from the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) deal with the issues of Emergency Lighting (I.S. 3217) and Fire Alarm Installation (I.S. 3218).
In addition guidance can be obtained by consulting standards, such as BS 5588 and BS 9999, which deal with the specific area of fire. As part of your fire risk assessment you, the employer, should consider whether, in the event of a fire occurring, all persons in the premises could leave safely and reach a place of safety.