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Emergency Lights and Smoke Detectors


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We previously had a fire safety team visit our development every six months to check the smoke detectors and emergency lights.

Then, about a year ago, an electrician installed a new range of emergency lights for us and offered to take over the testing of these and the smoke detectors. We were advised that a responsible person needed to simply check that the emergency lights came on once a month, which I’ve been doing, and that a full three-hour test of the emergency lights plus gaseous smoke detector checks could then take place annually, rather than every six-months.

Can anybody confirm that this is the case, as I still read in these forums that a six-monthly check is required for both emergency lights and smoke detection.



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There hasn't been a 6 monthly emergency lighting test for 16 years other than a means to make more money by out of date or unscrupulous contractors, the monthly test has been around for decades as has the annual EL test.

Depending on the type of detectors and their purpose the service interval could be 6 monthly, annual or nothing at all !

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Thank you, Anthony.

We have a very standard set up here. Standard lights that double up as emergency lights which I personally test and log once a month. Plus wired-in smoke detectors with a 10 year life which I had replaced about a year ago. I don’t currently test these, but it could be easily done when I do my once a month emergency lights check.

Are you suggesting that the emergency lights are tested for the three hour longevity once a year and smoke detectors do not need testing at all, ever? If so, and otherwise, where do I find the regulations that show these intervals and testing regimes?

Thanks again for your help.

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Emergency lights- monthly function (as you do) and annual 3 hour duration (which you could do too). Reference BS5266-1

Assuming from your description you have Grade D1 or D2 residential smoke alarms then the service regime is only a monthly test using the test buttons on the alarms - unless you are sheltered housing or a similar scheme with detection linked to the telecare/warden system there is no requirement for external servicing (principally as there is little they could do that you aren't each month) Reference BS5839-6:2019

If you are a purpose built block of flats and the common detectors don't operate smoke vents then they shouldn't have been installed in the first place and should be withdrawn. References: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/937931/ADB_Vol1_Dwellings_2019_edition_inc_2020_amendments.pdf and https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/fire-safety-purpose-built-04b.pdf 

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