How often must you test emergency lights?

You always turn on emergency lights in chaos, while exiting a building to feel safe. It’s kind of a reflex. Whenever the usual power shuts down because of any hazard, the emergency lights system comes to your rescue. 

The failure of these lights has resulted in several accidents over the years, so the key is having regular emergency light testing to keep a check on their working condition. In case you brush it off casually, you’re not only putting other’s lives at risk but also deliberately violating safety codes. 

The light system’s failure may also lead you to the fatigue of hefty penalties and fines. Before we move on to how often the emergency lights must be tested, we must focus on the importance of emergency lights in any facility or building.

Importance of emergency lights

The primary role of these lights is to stop people from panicking in case of an electrical emergency. In such a situation, lights help people struggling in the dark by letting them evacuate the building calmly. You can see these lights marking exit paths and doors in almost every official or commercial building. The lighting that illuminates floors to show the exit path is called “escape route lighting.” “Safety lighting” is used for those people who need to stay in the premises such as hospitals.

In order to avoid any fines and penalties, you need to know the safety regulations. Some of the most common ones are:

  • The location of exit signs and the illumination of floors
  • How much the area should be brightened
  • The duration of that light

You need to perform these tests according to the regulations:

  • Daily inspection
  • Monthly inspection
  • Annual inspection


In this inspection, you physically inspect the power supply to see if your system is operational. You don’t need to test the system.


The illumination lights, emergency lights and exit signs should remain functional for 30 seconds. You must keep written records of these inspections. This involves cutting the power of facilities to create an environment of an actual emergency. This may be simple but can be challenging. The bigger the building, the more time it would take for this inspection. Often the emergency system is mounted very high, and you need to use a ladder to view the emergency fixtures upfront causing interruptions.

You can also use battery-operated equipment which automatically tests the emergency lighting system and displays any irregularities.

As an alternative, there is also an option of computer-based testing equipment which automatically produces a history report, thus eliminating the need to keep the records manually.


Under such inspection, all the above mentioned tests are performed, but the time span of the test is increased to three hours. This test is done to ensure if the emergency lights stay on for 90 minutes and remain functional after the test. You should ensure that you perform this test at a time when the risk of an emergency is low.

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