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Why Do Emergency Lighting Systems Fail So Often?

Emergency lighting systems are a crucial element of fire safety, and as result are required by law in many commercial settings. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to recognise the importance of their emergency lighting, leading to corners being cut and necessary steps being skipped. 

In turn, many business’s experience emergency lighting system failures which not only create unsafe environments should a fire break out, but will land the business in significant financial trouble should they be inspected. 

Here are some of the main reasons why your system might fail, and what you can do to prevent them.

First Of All, How High Is Emergency Lighting System Failure?

According to Cyalume, the emergency lighting failure rate is incredibly high, at around 87%. This means that only 13% of systems were reliable and would be effective at keeping people safe in an emergency!

The Causes 

Poor Initial Installation or Design

One common reason as to why your emergency lighting system could fail is poor installation and system design. These systems are complex and require expert insight in order to be designed in a way that’s effective for your business and premises.

If you went for the cheapest possible option when installing, or perhaps used a company who were not experienced and didn’t have enough knowledge about your building to provide you with a sufficient system, it’s likely that there will be some faults that prevent it from working reliably.

In order to get your emergency lighting system back to working order, it’s a good idea to have your system re-designed, with a modern installation that has been thought out carefully by a trusted provider. 

An Old System

Even if you had a well-designed system installed to a high standard, if the system is very old then it may have a number of faults and issues, or it may simply be too outdated to meet your current lighting requirements.

If your emergency lighting system is 10 years old or more, it’s worth having a look to see if still meets your requirements and considering and upgrade to a modern solution that will be more reliable. 

A Lack of Maintenance

As with all systems, emergency lighting needs regular maintenance in order remain functional and reliable. If you don’t have yours properly maintained, components can begin to fail and the system will stop working as it was intended.

Whether this is the bulbs and lamps, control units, or charging units, there are lots of issues that can arise from not maintaining your system regularly enough.

What’s more is that you’re legally required to have your emergency lighting systems professionally serviced and maintained at least annually.

Wiring issues

Emergency lighting systems rely on wiring in order to connect the various components to each other and to the power source. Given the nature of electrical wiring, there are often issues that can arise here – whether it’s a damaged wire or a faulty connection – making it a primary cause for system failure.

If your lighting system doesn’t work currently, or you experience irregularities when you test your system, be sure to have the wiring checked extensively to determine whether this might be the cause.

Having your emergency lighting tested and serviced on a regular basis by somebody who is capable of dealing with complicated electricals will prevent issues like this from occurring. 

Battery failure

Most emergency lighting systems use batteries to provide backup power for the when the usual electricity supply goes down or is no longer accessible. If the batteries are not properly maintained, they can fail or lose their charge, leaving the system without any power.

To prevent this from becoming an issue and allowing your emergency lighting systems to fail, you should check your batteries and their chargers regularly to ensure that they’re still working. Replace any batteries as soon as you notice a fault to prevent further damage to your system.

Emergency lighting systems do fail, and it’s a major cause of fire safety fines that can harm your business financially. By keeping an eye out for what we mentioned in this article, you can minimise the chance of issues which will keep your building safer and stop you from getting into trouble for insufficient fire safety.

If you have any questions about your emergency lighting system, get in touch with our team of experts today!