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Testing emergency lighting yourself

Guest Iain Gold

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Guest Iain Gold

We live in a block of flats totalling 30nr across five floors. The fire strategy is 'stay put' however we have installed emergency bulkhead lights to both stairwells.

The electrician who installed the luminaries handed over a testing log and showed us the fish key isolation switch for carrying out monthly flick switch tests and annual 3 hour testing.

The tests are straight forward, the isolation is easy to achieve and there are green charging indicators on each luminaire.

We are not qualified electricians but are comfortable undertaking the tests, ensuring the luminaries remain on after three hours, checking that the green charging light glows after reinstalling the power supply and keeping the log up to date. Should there be a fault we consult with a qualified electrician.

We now have a new managing agent who has advised we are not suitably qualified to undertake the annual test and a qualified electrician must be instructed. Please confirm if the managing agent is correct. Thank you.

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You might even do a better job than Mr Sparks or some other so-called competent enterprise. Quite often sparks don’t hang around for full 3 hour test. For some it’s just a quick flick of the test key. I know one fire extinguisher company who can arrive at 12.30pm leave at 1.45pm carry out test and maintenance on over 30 extinguishers and do a three hour test on the emergency lighting! They hadn’t the wit to alter their time of arrival / departure on their service docket. 
get a system going and keep good records and you’ll be grand. One thing I would caution is to keep an eye on the green charge indicators as it is very easy to switch into test and forget to switch back on again! 

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