How Do Emergency Lights Work: All You Need to Know


Are you ever curious about how do emergency lights work when the power supply goes out? Emergency lights are life-saving appliances. They yield illumination during power outages and other emergency statuses.

These lights have battery-powered LED bulbs to remain lit during power outages. When the light does go off, the sensor triggers emergency lights. 

In this article, we’ll clarify how emergency lights service, as well as how you can establish them in your home.

What Are Emergency Lights?

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): “Emergency lights should exist in all new commercial establishments.”

Also, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has building codes. These codes must have emergency lighting in every office.

Emergency lighting systems yield illumination during a power failure or other emergencies. They get their power from batteries, and some models include a backup generator.

Besides exit stairwells, emergency lights should exist in hallways, schools, and outdoor regions.

Emergency lights consist mainly of a LED light and a rechargeable battery.

Also, some models can have a motion sensor. It activates the light when it spots movement, which can help to conserve battery power during a normal performance.

Wall Mount Emergency Light

What Are Emergency Light Components?

  • LEDs: Light-emitting diodes are small, efficient semiconductor appliances that convert power into light. LEDs are in everything from electronic disposes to Christmas lights. They are the heart of any LED emergency light.
  • Test Button: Most LED emergency lights include this button. It permits you to monitor the light’s function before catastrophe arises. Pressing the button will turn on the light, indicating it is performing.
  • Battery: The internal battery is the energy source for the emergency light. It supplies the electric capacity to the LEDs when no electrical power is accessible.
  • Emergency Light Module: It is the brains of the operation. This minicomputer dominates turning the light on, how long it stays on, and other processes.
  • Housing: The housing is the physical make-up that holds the device. It may be plastic, metal, or another material. And it must be tough enough to resist dropping or bumping around.
  • Charging Indicator: It indicates when the light is ready for usage. It has a red light that comes on when charging.
  • Emergency Light Indicator Symbol: This symbol is the international guideline for emergency lighting requirements.
Emergency Light Components

Emergency Light Components

How Do Emergency Lights Work?

Emergency light sources draw their power from batteries. When the power goes out, a switch triggers the batteries to generate power for the LEDs.

The duration of the emergency lighting relies on the batteries’ capacities and the number of LED lights. 

In many conditions, these lights may contain a backup emergency generator and deliver power for longer periods.

What Are the Various Kinds of Emergency and Exit Lights?

  • Emergency lights: These lights are useful in an emergency power supply outage. They have two lamps with a lot of small LEDs.
  • Exit lights: Exit lights show exits or paths of travel during an emergency situation. Also, they have a backup battery and can operate for hours in a power failure. They mount on the wall or ceiling and contain a directional arrow.
  • Combination emergency lights/exit signs: They have LED lamps for illumination. Also, the directional arrows on the emergency exit signs.
Combination of Emergency Lights/Exit Signs

Combination of Emergency Lights/Exit Signs

How to Install Emergency Lights?

Before installing your emergency light units, ensure that the area is safe. And that you have the suitable gear.

Also, ensure the electrical circuits are off before you initiate. Once you have the gear and safety precautions, you can establish the lights.

How to Install the Wall Mounting

  • Attach the mounting bracket to the wall with screws or anchors
  • Connect the wiring and secure it
  • Position the emergency light onto the bracket
  • Secure the light with screws
  • Test to make sure it works in a proper way

Ceiling and End-Mounted Lights Installation

  • Initiate by taking off the wire pass cutouts from the unit’s sides
  • Attach the canopy to the power pack
  • Now, take both of the longest screws and insert them into the outermost holes of a hanging plate.
  • Feed the circuit’s wiring through the central hole found in the plate
  • Insert the wires through the hole into the power package for it to work
  • Put the sign or fixture canopy onto the electrical box. But ensure the screws of the long plate are passing through.
  • Finally, secure everything with nuts. Then cover any visible wiring to finish up your installation and have your light output!
Emergency light installation

Emergency light installation

Preparing the Connection

If you’re connecting your emergency systems, you must know the voltage. Also, you should know what wires to search for.

Start by checking the voltage – is it 120 or 277 volts? Once you find out the electrical supply voltage, there are three wires to be aware of:

  • A single common wire (white)
  • One 120-volt wire (black)
  • A 277-volt wire (red)

If necessary, use the proper tools to remove the wires’ outer coating.

Avoid connecting both the 120-volt and 277-volt wires. Otherwise, your light fixture will malfunction!

Extra Installations Tips & Tricks

  • Double-check that your emergency lights are in the correct way for safety.
  • Plot out escape paths and place the signs for quick evacuation routes.
  • Ensure you recruit a fire protection foundation to yield advice on your specific space.
  • Ensure all lighting is up-to-date and meets OSHA regulations.

How Can I Test If the Emergency Lights Are Working Properly?

Traditional Testing

Testing emergency lighting in the traditional way can be a daunting task. If you’re ready to take on the dare, ensure you have all the obligatory gear to get started. First, you’ll need to power down the circuit before getting to work.

Once you establish that, wait for 90 minutes and inspect each light fitting for any trouble. Don’t forget to make sure the fitting is still working before you finish up!

Self-Testing Products

Invest in these products if you’re looking for a convenient way to test your emergency lights. These gadgets will yield automatic routine testing, allowing technicians to collect results without powering down the circuit.

The process is fast and reliable. It leaves you with peace of mind that your emergency lights are secure. With these devices, you will rest your back, knowing that your lights are compliant with OSHA safety code requirements.

Networked Products

You can make your emergency light testing less wearing with network gadgets. They will automatically conduct routine inspection tests. Then they report the results to you or a central unit.

It means you don’t have to work on the lighting circuit on your own. This way, you can save time and effort. By investing in them, you can rest your back, for your emergency lights are always up to date.

The technician checks the emergency light.

The technician checks the emergency light.

What Are the Applications of Emergency Lights?

In any establishment, an emergency lighting system is a crucial part of architectural design. 

The system yields illumination during a power outage or another event that causes the deprivation of the normal lighting system. There are diverse applications for emergency lights, involving:

  • Open Areas: These lights are a must in warehouses, factories, and other open settlements.
  • Escape Routes: Emergency lighting is indispensable for clearly illuminating escape routes. For illustration, in a chemical plant or industrial setting.
  • Stairwells: Stairwells are often dark and can be worn to navigate a power outage. We install these lights in stairwells to help people find their way to an exit.
  • High-risk Task Areas: They are common in operating rooms, laboratories, and industrial establishments.
  • Standby Lighting: We use standby lighting in conjunction with the normal lighting system. 
Standby Emergency Light

Standby Emergency Light


See? Emergency lights are essential for ensuring the safety of people in any establishment.

When investing in emergency lights, ensure you hire a fire protection foundation. And this provides advice on your specific space.

Anyways, don’t take any risks. Invest in the best products and services accessible for safety’s sake! We hope this article was informative. If you still have queries, feel free to reach out.

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