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How Do I Test Emergency Lighting Products?

Dec. 01, 2022

Emergency lighting is designed to turn on automatically to provide immediate illumination when your usual power source fails due to conditions such as a fire or power outage. While it plays several important roles in an emergency, its primary role is to prevent people from panicking and struggling in low light or darkness, and instead help them leave the building quickly and calmly. That's why it's important to have your emergency lighting checked regularly.


Emergency lighting

While the frequency of testing emergency equipment will be determined by the individual emergency lighting system, as a general guideline, most systems require a monthly inspection followed by a full duration test once a year.

Monthly Testing

This only requires a short test to check that everything is working properly. Use the test key to ensure that all emergency lights are on when the mains power is off and check the enclosures to ensure they are clean and show no signs of damage. Once mains power is restored, check that they are fully charged again.

Also most emergency lights or exit signs have a small "test" button somewhere in the housing. You can press and hold this button for thirty seconds to test the bulb and battery. This method works fine if you have a small number of devices that can be easily accessed. The light should come on and stay at the same brightness level for a full 30 seconds. If the lights dim immediately, or if some bulbs do not work, then you should contact us to replace the bulbs or batteries in the fixture.

Why thirty seconds?

Many defective batteries only hold enough charge to fully light the bulb for a few seconds, but they lose power quickly. If you don't test for 30 seconds, you may find lights that work every month only to find that they go out within seconds of when you really need them. By testing the lights for at least 30 seconds, you can ensure that the batteries have more than just this type of "surface charge".

Annual Testing

Locate the circuit breaker or fuse that supplies power to the emergency light or exit sign. (If they are not properly marked, you may need to contact an electrician.) Turn off the circuit breakers and observe the lights to determine if they are working properly during the three-hour test period.

Emergency Exit Light

Why three hours?

It is important to test emergency lights annually for their full rated duration. Emergency lights should provide a minimum of 3 hours of illumination (which is usually the case), so they need to be tested for the full 3 hours to ensure they are still working at the end of the test.

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