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Adam Bannister is a contributor to IFSEC Global, having been in the role of Editor from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam also had stints as a journalist at cybersecurity publication, The Daily Swig, and as Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
March 10, 2016


Lithium-Ion batteries. A guide to the fire risk that isn’t going away but can be managed

Lux Emergency Lighting Conference 2016: What did we Learn?

Attendees heard about the latest developments in codes and standards, installation testing and technology (with a major focus on batteries) at the Lux Emergency Lighting Conference 2016.

Here are five of the major talking points from the show, which took place at the Cavendish Conference Centre, London on 25 February, courtesy of John Bullock, applications editor at LUX.

emergency exit lighting

Imminent BS5266 Part1 upgrade

Revisions to BS5266 Part1, which will come into force this year, will cover changes in human behaviour and the impact of new technology. Driven by ongoing innovation further changes to this standard will not be long in coming, believes Bullock.

Super-bright signage

Bullock writes that “LED strips can easily deliver top-of-the-output signage and we can expect an increase in the use of 500cd/m2 signage packages.” Providing “ease-of-escape route recognition in large open spaces such as atria” is “a worthy aim”, he contines, “but the simpler option would be to make the signage bigger, and who’s prepared to take that argument into a fight with architects and designers?”

Risk assessments

A successful emergency lighting design depends on a thorough risk assessment, says Bullock – “and this is an ongoing process. If internal layouts change, perhaps with partition walls being reorganised, then a new risk assessment of the emergency lighting installation MUST be done. It’s all about vigilance and joined-up thinking.”

The internet of things and cloud computing

Automatic test reporting is increasingly conducted through the cloud. Data analysis specialists can now make installation and maintenance less time-consuming, more surgical – for example “where to find the fixture with the dodgy battery that’s tucked away on the back stairs in the sub-basement of the secondary maintenance building on the edge-of-town campus.”

So far associated with ‘smart’ fridges, coffee machines and other kitchen appliances, the internet of things is bound to have an impact on the more sober world of life safety. In terms of emergency lighting “we don’t know what it looks like and we may not recognise it when it arrives, but it’s definitely on its way,” says Bullock.


Why the Li-ion won’t be roaring tonight

There has been an expectation that the the lithium Ion (Li-ion) battery would gradually replace the old Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) battery, which is larger, heavier and less efficient.

But it’s “habit of catching fire” could hardly represent a more compelling argument against adoption. “What could be more embarrassing in an emergency evacuation situation to have your exit signage bursting into flames,” writes Bullock.

Li-ion batteries are vulnerable to overheating, a phenomena known as ‘venting with flame’.

Read John Bullock’s article on LUX for a more comprehensive review of the day’s themes

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