Emergency lighting testing for your safety in South Wales 

Testing of your emergency lighting systems ensure that they are compliant and properly functioning should you ever be in an urgent situation. At Dragon Fire & Security Systems, we provide effective emergency lighting testing across South Wales, Cardiff, Newport, Swansea, Bridgend and Bristol. Our professional team conduct thorough manual and automatic testing and maintenance for your peace of mind. 

Manual testing 

At Dragon Fire & Security Systems, we are able to simulate a mains failure by providing a switch to isolate all lighting circuits, individual circuits or individual luminaires. If manual testing is chosen, consider the following points:
 In a non maintained system and a single switch is used for the whole building or a separate switch used for each circuit. This means when you simulate the mains failure you have to walk the whole system to check all emergency luminaire are operating correctly.

 When you restore the mains supply you have to walk it again to check that they are recharging. If all luminaires are individually switched only a single walk around the building will be needed.

 The test switches could spoil the decor of the building and they must be of a type that is tamper proof.
After the tests the performance of the system should be logged.

Automatic testing 

If the costs of an engineer time and the disruption caused by manual testing are excessive, automatic systems should be considered. Different formats are available to match particular site requirements. The following is an overview of one manufacturers automatic system and is typical of the systems available. It consists of a main control panel plus one remote unit per luminaire. The remote units report back to the main panel using the mains wiring in the premises so no extra wiring is required.

The main panel can control up to 500 luminaires and each remote unit can be configured to be maintained or non-maintained, three hour or one hour type and the frequency of tests can also be set. In addition, restrictions on when testing may be carried out can be imposed with regard to a user specified time window, an input from a twilight sensor or an input from an alarm panel (so that luminaires will be tested when the alarm is set and the premises empty).

All activities are logged at the main panel and can be printed on the system either continuously or on user request. Thus a hard copy of when each unit was tested is always available together with log entries when either user or engineer modes are used. The log can have a 1000 entry capability and is battery backed. The system information (set-up details for both the overall system and for individual remote units) is stored in EEPROM which is therefore preserved even if the battery fails. An additional serial port is available which could be connected via a modem to a central station. Software for this port is available on request.


BS EN 50172:2004/ BS 5266-8:2004 for emergency escape lighting systems specifies the minimum provision and testing of emergency lighting for different premises. Additional information on servicing can be found in BS 5266 - Part 1 - 2005 Emergency lighting - section 13 servicing.

The system should include adequate facilities for testing the system condition. These need to be appropriate for the specific site and should be considered as part of the system design. Discussions with the user or system designer should identify:
 The calibre and reliability of staff available to do the testing
 The level of difficulty in performing the test
 Discharge tests need to be done outside normal working hours. In buildings that are permanently occupied the test should be phased so only alternate luminaire are tested
When automatic testing devices are used the information should be recorded monthly and annually. For all other systems, the tests shall be carried out as described below and the results recorded. Regular servicing is essential. The occupier/owner of the premises should appoint a competent person to supervise servicing of the system. This person should be given sufficient authority to ensure the carrying out of any work necessary to maintain the system in correct operation.

Routine inspections and emergency light maintenance

Where national regulations do not apply, the following emergency light maintenance standards should be met:
 Because of the possibility of a failure of the normal lighting supply occurring shortly after a period of testing of the emergency lighting system or during the subsequent recharge period, all full duration tests shall wherever possible be undertaken just before a time of low risk to allow for battery recharge. 

 Alternatively, suitable temporary arrangements shall be made until the batteries have been recharged.
The following minimum inspections and tests shall be carried out at the intervals recommended below. The regulating authority may require specific tests.


Indicators of central power supply should be visually inspected for correct operation daily. This inspection is to identify that the system is in a ready condition and does not require a test of operation.


If automatic testing devices are used, the results of the short duration tests should be recorded. For all other systems the tests shall be carried out as follows:
 Switch each luminaire and each internally illuminated exit sign to emergency mode so it uses the battery. This simulates a failure of the supply of the normal lighting and continue for a period sufficient to ensure that each lamp is illuminated.

 At the end of this test period, the supply to the normal lighting should be restored and any indicator lamp or device checked to ensure that it is showing that the normal supply has been restored.

 NOTE: The period of simulated failure should be sufficient for the purpose of this clause whilst minimising damage to the system components e.g. lamps. During this period, all luminaires and signs should be checked to ensure that they are present, clean and functioning correctly.

 For central battery systems, the correct operation of system monitors should be checked.

 For generating sets refer to the requirement of ISO 8528-12.


If automatic testing devices are used, the results of the full rated duration test should be recorded. The emergency lights should have sufficient battery backup for the full duration required. This could be one hour or three hours. Our engineer or surveyor will assess your premises and provide guidance on the required duration.

For all other systems the following tests made:
 Each luminaire and internally illuminated sign shall be tested as per monthly test but for its full rated duration in accordance with the manufacturer's information

 The supply of the normal lighting shall be restored and any indicator lamp or device checked to ensure that it is showing that normal supply has been restored. The charging arrangements should be checked for proper functioning

 The date of the test and its results shall be recorded in the system logbook

 For generating sets, refer to the requirements of ISO 8528-12

Commissioning certificates

BS5266 and the European Standard both require written declarations of compliance, consisting of installation quality, to be available on site for inspection. IEE regulations must have been conformed with and non-maintained fittings fed from the main circuit of the normal lighting system, as required in BS 5266 photometric performance. Evidence of compliance with light levels has to be supplied by the system designer as well as a declaration of a satisfactory test of operation. A log of all system tests and results must be maintained. System log books, with commissioning forms, testing forms and instructions should be provided by the installer. On completion of the installation of the emergency lighting system, or part thereof, a completion certificate should be supplied by the installer to the occupier/owner of the premises. The Building Control Department should insist upon a copy of this certificate which will be retained with the Building Regulations Authority.


Finally, to ensure that the system remains at full operational status, essential servicing should be arranged. This normally would be performed as part of the testing routine, but in the case of consumable items such as replacement lamps, spares should be provided for immediate use. Maintenance services incorporate:
 Summary of guidance covering emergency lighting

 British Standard 5266 - Emergency Lighting
Emergency lighting is now covered by a series of interdependent standards as shown below.
Dragon Light Maintenance

Base guidance document

BS 5266-1- 2005 Emergency lighting-Part 1: Code of practice for emergency lighting of premises. Gives general rules and guidance on the provision and operation of emergency lighting in most premises other than dwellings.

System Standards

BS EN 1838:1999/ BS 5266-7:1999 Lighting applications - emergency lighting. Specifies the illumination to be provided by emergency lighting (including luminance, duration and colour).

BS EN 50172:2004/ BS 5266-8:2004 emergency escape lighting systems - specifies the minimum provision and testing of emergency lighting for different premises.

Product standards 

BS EN 60598-1: 2008 luminaires. General requirements and tests. Check out the 60598 series for particular requirements.

BS EN 62034:2006 automatic test systems for battery powered emergency escape lighting. Specifies a test system for battery powered emergency lighting.

BS EN 50171:2001 central power supply systems. Specifies central power supply systems for luminaire for emergency lighting

Check out your local reference library or purchase copies from BSI Online. Insert the BS number to see what standards are available and their titles. These links may not be inclusive but do indicate the some of the standards that are available.
graphic of alarm sounding
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