Because problems such as fires and power outages can happen at any time, exit signage that can in reality save lives has to be ready to function at any given moment. This is why testing should be carried out on a monthly and annual basis.
The monthly tests
Testing emergency lighting for best efficiency is quick and simple and should take no longer than 30-60 seconds. For your exit signs to pass any monthly inspections the minimum requirements are that all signage must successfully use and maintain back-up power for at least 30 seconds. Most modern emergency signage has built in back-up switches which when held will cause the signage to go into back-up mode. By holding the switch for 30 seconds you can easily determine if your lighting meets illumination safety requirements.
The annual test
Rather than 30-60 seconds the annual test is slightly more complex and is carried out over 90 minutes. Because of the longer time involved it isn’t really feasible for a person to physically hold the testing switch for 90 minutes as you would for the monthly 30-60 second tests. Instead there are two ways in which lengthier testing can be achieved.
The simplest method is to unplug the signage from it’s power source. When cut off from it’s power source the emergency signage should then utilise power from the battery to work. The downside however is that after 90 minutes it’s easy to forget to plug the signage back into the main power source. When this happens the battery experiences a deep discharge that occurs when the battery is drained too low. Unfortunately this can quickly decrease the life span of the battery and inevitably your emergency appliance.
The second method is arguably the best method, but unfortunately it’s also the most disruptive. By shutting off the main circuit breaker when your emergency lighting is on, it simulates a power outage. While it’s an inconvenience when other appliances are connected to the same circuit, it’s even more of a hassle when your emergency lighting is attached to various circuits. For this reason and to avoid the least disruption, testing should be carried out in stages.
The good news is that regular emergency lighting tests can save lives and in reality, aside from the annual inspection, they take no time at all. If you want to ensure that your emergency lighting is going to function when you need it most then why not call on Static Electrics. As well as dealing with all sorts of domestic and commercial electrical issues we also carry out routine emergency lighting testing. Contact us on 0429 139 039 for more information, or if you’d like a free, no obligation quote.