Types of Emergency Lighting Systems

No one loves emergencies; we all wish and hope that we don’t find ourselves in one. Nevertheless, while we don’t want one, it is wise to prepare for the worst even while praying for the best. Hence, many buildings and areas have emergency lighting systems as a means of preparing for the worst.

While you might have seen these lighting around various buildings, you might think that they are all the same. However, they are of different types. Therefore, we will shine the light on this issue as we reveal the different types of emergency lighting systems.

emergency lighting systems
Emergency lighting system in Building

But before we turn the spotlight on that, it is important we know what these lightings are first…

What are Emergency Lightings?

Emergency lightings are lightings that are powered by batteries and are designed to turn on when the main power source is cut off. These lights will then illuminate the area where they are located.

They are set up to ensure that people who are stuck inside a building when there is a main power outage can still navigate their way and exit the building without further harm. With this form of illumination, individuals can still leave the area or building in an orderly manner without panicking.

Most buildings and areas are required to have emergency lighting systems especially public and commercial buildings and areas that see a lot of human activities. The right system must also be installed according to the building type.

Emergency Lighting System Types

Several emergency lighting system types exist for different purposes and needs. Hence, your choice would depend on what you want to use the light for.

Let’s talk about a few of them…

Bulkhead Fittings

Among the various emergency lighting types, the one commonly used are bulkhead fittings. They possess a body made from polycarbonate and a tray that contains all the parts. These lights can last up to 3 hours on battery power without the main electric power. Once the power is restored, they will recharge automatically.

Fire Signage

This fire exit signage is usually illuminated and is also very common. The purpose of these lights is to show folks within the building where the building’s exits are located. They can be found in hospitals, banks, malls, and other commercial buildings. Apart from the fire exit signage, other fire signs that are usually illuminated include fire equipment signage, safe condition signage, mandatory signage, etc.

LED Emergency Lights

LEDs are gaining popularity and usage in different applications. Hence, they are also utilized as emergency lightings. The reason LEDs have become popular is as a result of their energy-saving ability.

A new market product that is available these days is LED downlights. This product has an emergency alternative that comes with a battery pack in case there is a power outage. You can get one in either 1-watt or 3-watt form that can produce more than 75 lumens.

One thing about LED lights is that you need to replace the batteries immediately they are faulty. Leaving damaged batteries can affect the efficiency of the LED and might even shorten its life.

Differences between Bulkheads and LEDs

Let us quickly look at how different Bulkheads are from LEDs

EfficiencyLess efficientMore efficient when compared to the bulkhead’s incandescent bulbs
Energy ConsumptionUses more energyUses little energy
Light Up SpeedSlowVery quick to light up
FragileVery fragileLess fragile
Frequent UseCannot be frequently turned on and offCan be frequently turned on and off
LifespanShorter lifespanLonger lifespan
ToxicityMore toxic due to its mercury contentLess toxic as it doesn’t have mercury
Wiring MaterialUses standard wiring materialsDoesn’t use standard materials
Maintenance CostLow: Only requires general cleaning and periodic testMaintenance cost is high especially for the batteries
System IntegrityHigher system integrity since the luminaires aren’t dependent on othersLower system integrity due to dependability of luminaires
System ExtensionThe system can be extended using additional luminairesThe system cannot be extended using additional luminaires
Costs of Hardware EquipmentLow costHigher cost
Differences between Bulkheads and LEDs

Maintained Emergency Lighting vs. Non-Maintained Emergency Lighting

Terms you will likely hear as you begin to learn more about emergency lighting systems are “maintained” and “non-maintained”. What do they mean?

Maintained light fittings refer to those products that you can operate using a lighting controller e.g. a switch. This type of product can be kept on permanently or can only function during a power outage.

On the other hand, non-maintained light fittings refer to those that will not come on except during a power outage. This type of product is usually powered by a battery and self-charge when the power is on.


We believe you now know the types of emergency lighting systems after going through the article above.

1 thought on “Types of Emergency Lighting Systems”

  1. I found the article on emergency lighting systems and their types to be informative and well-structured, providing valuable insights into this crucial aspect of electrical systems.

Leave a Comment