Q. What happens in the event of a fire to high-level lighting?
A. The primary lights become smothered by thick black smoke.
Smoke is a buoyant fluid that will collect on the ceiling creating a smoke reservoir. The typical smoke from property fires is made of dense black particles that will restrict the refraction of light preventing it from passing through the layer created across the ceiling leaving the area below in darkness.
Q. Why fit a photoluminescent low-level safety way guidance system?
A. This type of system will provide adequate illumination in the event of a fire (as shown above) or light failure. The EcoBrite ULTRA system will guide the occupants of a building quickly and effectively to a place of safety.
Q. Can a photoluminescent system be used instead of electrical lighting?
A. Yes - It is all down to "risk assessment" (see Article 9 of the RRFSO).
The Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers Fire Safety Engineering Guide (3rd Edition) states in paragraph 7.8.4 the following:
In situations where wayfinding could be difficult, serious consideration should be given to the advantages offered by continuous luminous wayfinding systems and directional markers instead of conventional high-level emergency lighting.
Emergency wayfinding lighting systems consist of low mounted tracks of light and marking of doorways on exit routes in conjunction with standard exit and directional signs. The systems come into operation when power to the normal lighting fails or when the alarm system is activated. Systems can be powered or photoluminescent.
Q. Is a photoluminescent system legally compliant?
A. Yes - The Law requires under the RRFSO Article14(2)(h) that the responsible person must ensure -
"Where necessary" - "emergency routes and exits requiring illumination must be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting."
We have worked with both Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service and Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service to conclude that this type of system is an acceptable solution as a system.
Q. Is there a British Standard for fitting a photoluminescent system?
A. Yes - The British Standard for this type of system is BS ISO 16069 Clause 7 for the specification of a safety way guidance system. We use some of the highest grades of photoluminescent materials to create a much higher afterglow that provides adequate illumination to allow people to navigate through a building when the lighting fails to work.
Q. What are the advantages of a photoluminescent system?
A. Some of the advantages are as follows:
100% guaranteed to work when to BS ISO 16069.
Cost effective - typically less than 50% of the cost of an electrical emergency lighting system.
Fast fitting - requires less time and disturbance to the day to day use of the building.
Little to no maintenance - no monthly testing required.
Massive savings from testing electrical systems that use batteries.
Eco-friendly - reducing carbon footprint, no battery or carbon lamp wastage.
30 Years - Can have a life span of at least 30 years.
Q. How does the EcoBrite ULTRA system benefit the Fire Service?
A. The system assists Firefighters to navigate quickly through a building which has been demonstrated by the New York Fire Department. In addition, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service have tested EcoBrite ULTRA within a training firehouse at their Bury Training Centre.
Q. What information does the EcoBrite ULTRA system provide to Firefighters?
A. As part of our working partnership with Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service under the Primary Authority, we have developed emergency floor plans and floor identification plates that display all the information required by incoming fire crews. These plates provide all the relevant information a firefighter needs in the event of a fire with flat locations, numbers of flats on a floor, the layout of the floor area, location of stairs, and firefighter equipment such as dry risers.
Q. Is it a requirement to highlight stair tread edges?
A. Yes - All stair treads and steps must be highlighted. EcoBrite ULTRA stair treads meet the required standard as per British Standard 8300 easily achieving a Light Reflectance Value of+30. We have also discovered that registered blind people can easily see EcoBrite ULTRA and it has been fitted in one of the RNIB's sheltered housing blocks.
Q. Are these systems being used anywhere else in the world?
A. These systems are used in many countries around the world and in some they are now a legal requirement, particularly the USA. These systems were made a legal requirement in New York in 2004 (NY Local Law 26 - pg.5 S27-383 [b]) in all high rise buildings. These systems are also a legal requirement on aeroplanes, all commercial ships or private ships that employ staff, oil rigs and all passenger trains in the USA. It is also used by the US and British Military.