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Lighting The Way: A Brief History Of Emergency Lighting

Modern developments in technology have allowed us all to become safer both at work and in public spaces, where extinguishers, alarm systems and fire doors all work to protect us in an emergency. Whether the threat we face is natural or manmade, our modern buildings are designed to protect occupants and limit overall danger.


One aspect of modern safety equipment that is featured in most public buildings is emergency lighting, where this is designed to light the way out of a property if the main power source fails. Read on to learn about the history of this major safety invention.


Origins Of Electricity


Emergency lighting works by operating when the main electrical supply is suddenly cut off. As such this feature as we know it only became necessary after electric bulbs were invented. This fundamental discovery is famously credited to Thomas Edison, who is believed to have made the first working incandescent bulb in 1879. Their popularity swiftly grew, eventually leading to the need for failsafe methods in case the power went out.


Early Models


Initially emergency lighting came in the form of incandescent bulbs which could remain very dimly lit if the power supply went out. This usually provided enough light to fix the problem or evacuate the building. As lightbulb popularity increased along with building capacity, it was soon realised that more powerful and longer lasting emergency lighting was a necessity.


Battery Power


For long lasting emergency lighting to be developed, it was necessary to incorporate battery packs into the design. This relied on Alessandro Volta’s original design, who invented the first battery as we know it today in 1800. The device was able to release an electric charge through a chemical rather than physical process, paving the way for future battery power developments. Initially battery failsafe systems were bulky, heavy and expensive, meaning they weren’t commonly installed until smaller battery products became more common.


Modern Installations


As lighting technology progressed, lights that used a lower voltage were developed. This meant smaller batteries could be employed to back up their power supply. Today, lights are only as big as the bulbs and batteries stored within them, where emergency bulbs can be of comparable brightness to the best everyday lighting systems. They are now a common safety feature in offices and public buildings across the world.


EK Fire Protection: Reliable Emergency Light Installation For Your Building


At EK Fire Protection, we can provide emergency lighting services alongside fire exit signs and alarm installations. We can also offer comprehensive fire risk assessments for your workplace - get in touch today to find out more.


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