Lighting : LIGHTING Aug-Sep 2018
16 LIGHTING MAGAZINE | August/September 2018 August/September 2018 | LIGHTING MAGAZINE 17 Thereisnodoubtthatthehorrorofcertain world events can remain engraved as a clear image in your memory forever. The New York twin towers attack was seventeen years ago, but most people over the age of 30 would be able to remember where they were and what they were doing when they first saw those towers collapse. Similarly, the Grenfell Tower blaze in London in 2017 was so dramatic in its intensity that it has inevitably conjured up comparisons and similar feelings of helpless dread. At the forefront of your mind when you see such things are two questions: ‘What about the BY PENNY JONES Emergency and exit lighting in a high security world FEATURE people inside?’ and then closer to home ‘What would I do if it was me or my family in there?’ Although these events happened overseas, catastrophes like them and the security and safety discussions they trigger, have global trickle-down effects. Following 9/11 there was an immediate refocusing on construction codes and whether the emergency and exit lighting requirements were sufficient for a world where emergencies now extend beyond fires to include deliberate attacks. With the one-year anniversary of the Grenfell Tower disaster recently passing and a major inquiry into the event underway, the international spotlight is once again being shone on the regulations, standards, guidance, specification, installation practice and maintenance regimes for emergency and exit lighting. In Australia and New Zealand, we take for granted that there are rules and regulations that ensure the buildings we inhabit are built safely. Fire safety, plumbing, electrical, and energy standards are written into law and, like most western countries, our standards and codes are administered and enforced. In Australia, for example, the Building Council of Australia sets the rules, while Standards Australia determine the performance of equipment. But still, what would you do if you were caught in a disaster like this? If you were in a tower that was on fire or if you were on a train deep underground when an emergency evacuation event occurred? Whether a deliberate attack or a terrible accident, there would be only one thing on your mind: escape. And how would you escape? In most cases you’d largely be at the mercy of the infrastructure’s emergency and exit lighting system. According to Timocles Copland, Corporate Affairs Manager from Lighting Council Australia (LCA) we absolutely can’t take for granted that it won’t happen. “Over the last year there were 5,500 building-based fires in New South Wales and that’s only one particular event-type for which we use emergency lighting systems,” he says. “Cutting corners on an appropriate emergency lighting system because such an event is unlikely is not only wrong, but likely to be a criminal offence.” Of course, it’s not at all pleasant to think about the worst happening but it’s vitally Simona Tomevska is a Stakeholder Engagement Manager at Standards Australia. Evacuation plans highlight details including emergency contact details, location of emergency exits, a legend to show what equipment is installed (such as firefighting equipment) and possible egress paths from a ‘you are here’ location marker. Timocles Copland is the Corporate Affairs Manager at Lighting Council Australia. Trent Dutton is a Principal Lighting Engineering and President of IESANZ.
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