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Emergency lighting is lighting provided for use when the main lighting fails for whatever reason.

It must: (a) indicate clearly and unambiguously the escape routes; (b) illuminate the escape routes to allow safe movement towards and out of the exits; (c) ensure the fire alarm call points and fire equipment provided along the escape route can be easily located.


BS 5266, like most British Standards, is not a legal requirement. However, it can acquire legal status by being adopted as part of the by-laws. Although most enforcing authorities quote BS 5266, many modify the conditions. For example, they may insist on a higher illuminance. In addition to this legal requirement, many organisations have their own more onerous standards. Therefore, the designer must thoroughly investigate the standards that apply to the building. Marking the route All exits and emergency exits must have exit or emergency exit signs. Where direct sight of an exit is not possible, or there could be some doubt as to the direction, then direction signs with an appropriate running man pictogram and the words exit or emergency exit are required. The idea, is to direct someone who is unfamiliar with the building to the exit. All of these signs must be illuminated at all reasonable times so that they are legible.