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Safety Lighting

What exactly is safety lighting? We can answer that question with an example: imagine that you’re on holiday in a hotel that you’re completely unfamiliar with. Suddenly, the power goes out. Now, it’s difficult to find an exit or emergency exit. The thing that still lights up and shows you the way – that’s the safety lighting.

Safety lighting is lighting which, in the event of a power failure, comes on as soon as the normal artificial lighting no longer works. 

The legal basis for this is DIN EN 1838, which makes safety lighting a requirement, so that people can leave their current location and the building they are in safely and without panicking. Safety lighting is recognisable either by its pictograms, which indicate the escape route, or by a marking on the light itself.


The key objectives of safety lighting

  • To ensure that people can find escape routes safely.
  • To ensure safe exit from the building in the event of a general power failure.
  • To help locate firefighting and safety equipment.
  • To enable necessary activities at a workplace to be completed safely.
  • To prevent panic.

What types of safety lighting are there?

Safety lighting must always kick in when the normal power grid fails. To do this, it has to be supplied independently of the power grid. The main difference lies in the way it is supplied: a suitable power supply has to be found for emergency lighting. Basically, one differentiates between individual and central battery systems.

Single-battery systems

They are simple in design. In the event of a power failure, each light is supplied with power by a directly designated battery. The advantages of this system are:

  • Malfunctions in an individual light don’t affect the overall system.
  • The lights function independently.
  • A safety lighting system does not require a separate room.
  • There is no, or only minimal, switchover time in the event of failure of the regular power supply.

Central battery systems

As the name indicates, in this model the safety lighting system is powered by central batteries. The advantages of this model are:

  • Easier monitoring, maintenance and replacement of the batteries.
  • A longer nominal operating time.
  • The batteries for the entire safety lighting system are in one room.
  • Suitable for outdoor installations (irrespective of temperature).

Where must safety lighting be installed?

In accordance with DIN EN 1838, safety lighting must be installed in the following places:

  • Near each first aid point.
  • Outside and near each exit.
  • At every point where corridors change direction or intersect.
  • At each exit door to be used in an emergency.
  • Near stairways, so as to illuminate every step.


Stefan Müller
Authorised signatory
Head of Security Planning

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