Government guidelines (Fire Safety Risk Assessment: Offices and Stores) stipulate that all emergency escape lighting systems should be regularly tested and properly maintained to meet appropriate standards. Traditionally, this test is usually performed manually, although as mentioned above, emergency lighting equipment can be used with self-test equipment.

Depending on the type of installation, trained staff should be able to perform most routine tests on their own. Since testing methods can vary, there may be questions, in which case it is advisable to seek advice from a supplier or other qualified person.

A typical test is performed with a key switch located near the main fuse board or adjacent to the associated light switch. This is also known as a "secret key" switch because it is designed to allow testing of emergency lights while preventing unauthorized operation of the test switch.

Testing usually includes the following:
If a central power supply system with slave lighting is installed, a visual inspection of all central controls is performed daily;
Perform monthly functional tests on the test equipment for a sufficient period of time to ensure that each emergency light is on;
Perform a full discharge test once a year to ensure that the light is on throughout the discharge period (usually 3 hours) and that the battery is charging
Special attention is required after a full discharge test. The battery usually takes 24 hours to recharge, and the house should not be reoccupied unless the emergency lighting system is fully operational.

It is effective to record all tests in the fire safety log.


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