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BS 5266-1:2011 Emergency lighting – Part 1: Code of practice for the emergency escape lighting of premises

BS 5266-1:2011gives recommendations and guidance on the factors that need to be considered in the design of, and the installation and wiring of, electrical emergency escape lighting systems, in order to provide the lighting performance needed for safe movement of people in the event of the supply to normal lighting failing. It also gives recommendations for lighting in areas with fixed seating.

This is a full revision of the standard

It has been updated to assist those engineers wishing to protect occupants from the hazards identified by risk assessments and also to evaluate existing premises to decide if they need to be upgraded to meet current requirements. The standard has also been expanded to give guidance to protect occupants from a sudden loss of the normal lighting supply.

The aim of BS 5266-1 is to promote wider understanding of the different types of emergency lighting system which may be employed, and to give guidance on their correct application to the varied requirements of different categories of premises.

The recommendations given in this standard have been drawn up to encourage uniformity of application, based on providing adequate safety to people in the event of interruption of the normal lighting, and having due regard to the hazard level and degree of familiarity of occupants with particular premises.

The standard recognizes that, in addition to ensuring safe unobstructed means of escape from the premises at all times, an important function of emergency lighting is to make possible the immediate location and operation of fire alarm call points and fire-fighting equipment, and another is to minimize the chance of panic arising in enclosed spaces, such as lifts.

The 'responsible person'

The 'responsible person' is someone who has control, or a degree of control, over premises or fire-prevention systems within premises.

UK legislation imposes a duty on this person, to carry out risk assessments and to take such precautions as to ensure as far as reasonably practicable the safety of the occupants. These measures include the provision of safe means of escape, including emergency routes and exits, together with, where necessary, signs indicating them. Adequate illumination needs to be provided, together with emergency lighting of sufficient intensity in case of failure of the normal lighting.

Contents for BS 5266-1 includes:

  • Scope
  • Normative references
  • Terms and definitions
  • Consultation and records
  • Illumination for safe movement
  • Emergency escape lighting design
  • Batteries
  • Wiring systems and circuit requirements
  • Choice of appropriate emergency lighting systems
  • Emergency lighting design procedure
  • Certificates and log book
  • Servicing


This part of BS 5266 supersedes BS 5266-1:2005 and BS 5266-10:2008, which are withdrawn.

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