When to test Emergency Lights

In a word “Daily”!


That’s not to say that you should be doing a full 3 hour emergency light test on a daily basis, that’s not feasible. But every day someone should be checking that the green indicator LED is illuminated on every emergency light. It is easily done and incorporated into a opening or closing routing of walking the building and glancing upward to the lights. Best of all if you have a central battery system there is only one place to check.

This is so that any emergency lighting failures are immediately spotted and you can do something about it, before you need to rely on them.


Approximately once a month perform a quick functional emergency light test. Cut the power to the emergency lights. Probably through a test key switch or isolating in the fuse box. Then walk the building and check that each light is illuminated correctly. You should leave them without power for 5 to 10 minuets, or longer if you have a big building. Make sure to reconnect the power once you have completed this test and ensure that the green charging light is back on.

Clock showing 21:13 time

This is to ensure that they will work when called upon and that you have enough light where you need it. Remember buildings and rooms change their use over time and you may need more or less lighting in an emergency.


At 6 monthly intervals there needs to be a longer duration test. At the first 6 month test perform an hour or more duration. Again cut the power and walk the building checking that each emergency light is giving you the correct light for your needs. Reconnect after you have done. On the second 6 month test ensure that you do a full 3 hour duration test. Most emergency lights will actually last for longer than three hours, especially when new. This will ensure that you are compliant with the regulations.

Remember: Once you have done a full duration test, the emergency lights will require a full 24 hour charge to ensure that they can achieve another 3 hour duration.

Longer duration tests will give the batteries in the emergency lights a good workout, just to make sure that they can give you light for a longer time. The batteries need to be used to ensure that they can keep their charge. An emergency light that has never been tested for years won’t give a full 3 hour duration when needed, the batteries will have degraded too much.

To recap:

  • Check the green LED on each light daily.
  • Quick functional test every month
  • Full duration tests at least once a year.
MonthType of test
1Functional test 5 -10 minutes
2Functional test 5 -10 minutes
3Functional test 5 -10 minutes
4Functional test 5 -10 minutes
5Functional test 5 -10 minutes
6Longer duration test 1 hour +
7Functional test 5 -10 minutes
8Functional test 5 -10 minutes
9Functional test 5 -10 minutes
10Functional test 5 -10 minutes
11Functional test 5 -10 minutes
12Full 3 hour duration test

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