At the end of May BS 5266 Part 1 was updated and republished as BS 5266 Part 1: 2016. The update was required to reflect the development and changes of national and international standards, but also to reflect the practice of allowing people to stay in premises in case of power supply failures rather than evacuating them unnecessarily.
The most significant change within the revised standard is the extension of its scope to encompass “Emergency Safety Lighting” and “Standby Lighting”, alongside “Emergency Escape lighting” requirements on which it had always previously focussed.
In premises occupied by unwell, infirm or vulnerable people such as care or nursing homes, evacuation, in case of only a mains failure, may be difficult and upsetting as well as unnecessary. Best practice may be to adopt a “Stay Put” policy, ensuring that occupants have adequate emergency lighting to remain and circulate safely within the premises. However emergency lighting must also be adequate on escape routes to assist evacuation if an emergency situation should occur and evacuation becomes necessary.
Even in an emergency situation, working with fire compartments, it is sometimes wiser to retain occupants in an area of a building until the fire authorities can safely evacuate them. In such circumstances it is again necessary to ensure adequate “Stay Put” emergency lighting.
Even in commercial locations, in case of a mains supply failure, with adequate “Stay Put” emergency lighting, staff may remain after the evacuation of the public ready to restart a service or trading.
The extension of scope and other notable changes such as additional risk assessment guidance make this revision particularly important to those specifying and responsible for emergency lighting installations.