What is the purpose of emergency lighting?

The primary purpose of emergency lighting (or emergency escape lighting) is to illuminate escape routes but it is also provided to illuminate signs and other safety equipment. The size and type of your premises and the risk to the occupants will determine the complexity of the emergency lighting system you require. If your premises are large and complex a comprehensive system of fixed automatic escape lighting is likely to be needed. This will be particularly true if you have significant numbers of staff or members of the public using your premises.

If escape routes require artificial illumination, you need to consider whether emergency lighting is necessary. Your fire risk assessment will judge the likelihood that a fire will cause the normal lighting on any part of the escape route to fail before occupants escape from the area.

An emergency lighting system should normally cover the following:

  • Each exit door
  • Escape routes
  • Intersections of corridors
  • Outside each final exit and on external escape routes
  • Emergency escape signs
  • Stairways so that each flight receives adequate light
  • Changes in floor level
  • Windowless toilets and toilet accommodation exceeding 8m2
  • Fire fighting equipment
  • Fire alarm call points
  • Equipment that would need to be shut down in an emergency
  • Lifts
  • Rooms greater than 60m2


It is not necessary to provide individual lights (luminaires) for each item above, but there should be a sufficient level of light overall to allow them to be visible and usable.

Panache Fire Services can design, install and maintain emergency lighting systems conforming to the recommendations in BS 5266-1 and the requirements of BS 5266-7 and 8.