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How Often Do I Need To Test My Emergency Lighting System?

Multiple lights hanging from the ceiling.

Emergency lighting systems are an essential safety feature in any building. They ensure that, in the event of a power outage or emergency situation, there is still adequate lighting to help people find their way out of the building safely. However, just having an emergency lighting system in place is not enough – you also need to ensure that it is regularly tested and maintained. In this blog post, we’ll cover when you need to test your emergency lighting system and how often you should be doing so.

Testing Your Emergency Lighting System

Testing your emergency lighting system is crucial to ensure its effectiveness during an emergency situation. It is vital to ensure that all the emergency lights are functioning correctly and adequately illuminating the building when the main power is out. Testing should include all emergency lights, including those on stairs, exits, and fire escape routes.

The BS5266-1:2016 regulation states that a full discharge test of the emergency lighting system should be carried out every year. This test typically involves switching off the mains power supply to test the duration and lighting performance of the emergency lights. The test should last for at least three hours to determine if the illumination is sufficient.

Functional Test

It is also essential to carry out a short functional test every month to ensure that all emergency lights are in working condition. Functional tests are necessary to identify any defects in the system and prevent the failure of the entire system during an emergency.

After carrying out the test, ensure that the testing results are recorded in a logbook. Keeping a logbook will help keep track of the test results and identify any trends or patterns, such as a faulty emergency light that may require replacement.

If the emergency lighting system fails the testing, you should make necessary repairs or replacements as soon as possible. Your emergency lighting system will be ineffective during an emergency, and you risk the safety of your employees, customers, and the public if you allow the problem to persist.


In conclusion, testing your emergency lighting system is a legal requirement and an important safety aspect of any building. You should be testing your emergency lighting system at least once a month, carrying out additional tests whenever work is carried out or the building layout/ use changes, and regularly checking that everything is in good working order. By doing so, you can ensure that your emergency lighting system is always ready to provide essential lighting when it is needed the most.

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