Why are emergency lights so dim?

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  • Why are emergency lights so dim?

    I'm currently renovating/extending an HMO and for the first time I need emergency lighting.

    I was going to get something like this -- https://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Products/EMLED.html -- but I was surprised to see it's only 190 lumens. However, looking at other emergency lights available, that seems about standard. Why are they so dim? Is it just because when activated their batteries wouldn't last for very long (even with LEDs) if they were any brighter?

  • #2
    I guess you aren't going to need it bright enough to read a paper, just to see where you're going. Thus why go to the expense of making it bright enough to read a paper.

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    • #3
      There are a few other reasons, physical and psychological, e.g.:
      • If people exit into darkness, they will be less night blinded than they would be if the emergency lights had been very bright
      • With low lighting people have to at attention to where they are going, are less likely to run
      • Low lighting has a depressive effect on the fight/flight response
      Emergency lighting on planes is dim and set low for the same practical and psychological reasons: looking down also slows you down, stops you looking at and assessing other dangers, feeling able to run etc...

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      • #4
        Generally provide 1 lux at floor level. I was taught at the fire service college that this is roughly the equivalent of the amount of light given off by a full moon.

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        • #5
          It allows the battery to last for the duration required without having to carry a massive battery pack.

          Also, since they are intended to be used when all other lights are off it prevents people from being blinded: People are expected to look straight at them for direction.

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