IFSJ Exclusive: The integrated approach to emergency lighting with Advanced

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Matthew Jones, Emergency Lighting Business Manager at Advanced, talks fire safety strategy, CPD and emergency lighting maintenance

What led you to the role of Emergency Lighting Business Manager at Advanced?

I have background in the fire industry and when there was an opportunity to head up the emergency lighting business unit at Advanced, I thought it would be a great chance to raise the profile of emergency lighting education, particularly about best practice and British Standards.

As part of fire protection, emergency lighting is a vital life safety system which helps enable safe evacuations when a fire takes place.

What are some common emergency lighting pitfalls?

A common pitfall is not testing emergency lighting frequently enough. With emergency lighting, a short function test should be completed each month, which we usually recommend should take 10 minutes. Then once a year a full duration test is required, which typically takes 180 minutes. It is important to consistently test that your emergency lighting is functioning correctly to be compliant with the relevant standard BS 5266, the Code of Practice for the Emergency Lighting of Premises.

There needs to be a way of isolating the emergency luminaires in case other essential services are connected to the circuit. It is therefore essential to use test-key switches, self-testing devices or a fully automatic addressable system, such as Advanced offers. Many people still rely on manual testing with a test-key switch which is fine for a handful of lights on a shop front but when there is a greater number of lights another type of testing is needed.

If a building has more than 40- 50 emergency luminaires then it can benefit from an automatic addressable testing system. The sites that we work with at Advanced are vast, such as universities and hospitals, where systems feature 4,000+ luminaires being monitored at any time. These buildings have multiple teams of people maintaining the emergency lighting systems, so addressable systems that are robust and report all the information remotely are handy for the maintenance process. (This is available in the UK and Ireland, but we don’t currently offer this internationally.)

What are the latest emergency lighting developments that people should be looking out for?

Our intelligent lighting system, LuxIntelligent, is an automatic, addressable, emergency lighting test system, that shows all emergency lights are compliant and functioning, with no engineer involvement required and can work with retrofits or conversions of architectural lighting.

We work with standalone emergency lighting systems, but we also offer new technology to the market that is unique, for example our Dynamic Safety Signage System (DSSS) [pictured above]. The DSSS can be used as a standalone system or integrated with conventional/addressable fire alarm panels to trigger emergency lighting if an incident occurs. An addressable fire system can integrate with the DSSS telling it where the fire is within the building enabling the lighting system to indicate the routes that are viable for evacuation via green arrows, while also showing the routes that are no longer viable with red crosses, helping aid safe means of escape. This is all driven by the cause-and-effect software in the fire panel, which moves people away from hazardous areas within the building and provides them with a route to safety.

Finally, if a building has not already moved from fluorescent lighting to LED, now has never been a better time to do so, especially because this means lower electricity usage, lower CO2 emissions and so lower electricity bills.

Can you tell me more about integration of emergency lighting systems?

The way our intelligent emergency lighting systems work is based on EN 54 approved fire panel technology, so they are absolutely bullet proof in terms of robustness. Since they are based on the same fire panel architecture, we can interlink them to pretty much any fire system to drive and control emergency lighting using the fire control panel. This allows the integration of the emergency lighting with other systems, for instance anti-panic lighting or Dynamic Safety Signage which could be integrated to help with safe evacuations.

Where can the Responsible Person find out how to comply with emergency lighting regulation and best practice?

We want to help Responsible Persons gain the compliance they are trying to achieve and are happy to provide advice and guidance on emergency lighting legislation. At Advanced we offer a third-party CPD accredited service where we run an hour-long, online CPD remotely to help educate people on exactly what they need to know – everything from what the legislation is, to who is responsible, to where you need to put your emergency lighting. We also offer a handy pocket guide which helps explain in great detail where to install emergency lighting.

For more information contact Matt: [email protected], +44 (0)345 894 7000

This article was originally published in the January edition of IFSJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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