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  • Writer's pictureZoe Wheeler

Emergency Lighting - 3-Hour Drop Test

There are many types of electrical testing that businesses may need. Landlords will need regular EICR testing. Schools and office buildings need PAT testing on electric equipment. Business premises also need a regular emergency lighting test. This is done via a 3-hour drop test.




What is a 3-hour drop test?


A 3-hour drop test is an emergency lighting test in which the state of all emergency lights will be determined. The mains power to a premise will be shut off to allow the emergency lighting to illuminate and the engineer to inspect the lighting.


The annual emergency lighting test will check that all emergency lighting stays illuminated for a minimum of 1 hour. Different emergency lights will have different luminaire ratings, however, all must stay on for a minimum of 1 hour, and some for up to 3 hours.


How long does it take?


It may seem an obvious answer however, it isn’t. Here at NLT Electrical we usually allow 5 hours for an emergency lighting test. The 3-hour drop test only accounts for the time the mains power is off.


It is also advisable that the test be carried out at the quietest possible time. This is to ensure minimal disruption to operation and reduced health and safety risks. Manufacturing or large office buildings would be better tested during shutdown or over a weekend to minimise the number of people on site.


Is it a legal requirement?


Yes. Legislation in the UK requires all business premises to have emergency lighting. Offices, factories, pubs, clubs, schools, hospitals, tents, and marquees must have emergency lights. All these lights need to be fully tested annually and any faults need to be remedied as soon as possible. Faulty or broken emergency lighting could void insurance policies so regular testing is advised to ensure the safety of everyone on site.


Where are emergency lights installed?


Emergency lighting should be installed throughout the premises especially areas of notable risk, points of interest, and toilets and reception areas. Stairwells, reception areas, and other areas exceeding 8m² should have emergency lighting as if they were open areas.

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