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Fire Alarm Consultancy Blog

Emergency Lighting Soak Tests

Emergency Lighting Soak Tests 

Over the past few months we have been carrying out more and more site surveys for maintenance and I have been amazed at how many properties are still not having three hour emergency lighting soak tests carried out in accordance to BS:5266:Part 1:2016. The usual always used to be for sites to have two visits of one hour each per year but this is now only acceptable for a small proportion of properties. Now, I know that most of you reading this will be thinking that you will have evacuated the building in plenty of time, so one hour is more than enough. However, it’s not that simple; your evacuation time has very little to do with this requirement.

Firstly, we must consider the safety of the emergency services who may have to enter the evacuated building. How long will they be inside for? How long has the power already been off prior to evacuation?

Secondly, business continuity plays a big part in the requirement. With one hour soak testing any power failure should result in the evacuation of the building and the occupants should then not return until the batteries have fully charged. With three hour testing, immediate return to the building is allowed, ensuring everyone’s safety as well as causing limited interference to the business operation.

It is all too easy to cherry the pick the parts of the British Standards that we want to adhere to, but it is important to take the Standard as a whole when considering what is required for each individual property.

If you would like any more advice regarding this or would like us to supply you with a maintenance quotation then please do get in touch.

Alex Hiscock, The Fire Alarm Consultancy

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