Emergency lighting checklist

Written by george n. root iii
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Emergency lighting checklist
Check regularly to make sure your emergency lighting works. (lighting image by palms from Fotolia.com)

In order to be effective, an emergency lighting system needs to be in operational order at all times. Emergencies can happen at any moment, so check your system at least once a month to make sure your home's emergency lighting is ready to guide you to safety, and perform maintenance when needed.


Flashlights should be a part of any emergency lighting system. Place flashlights near all major doorways, and in areas such as stairways. During your regular monthly check of your emergency lighting system, make sure that each flashlight gives a strong beam of light when turned on. If a beam is weak, replace the batteries in that flashlight immediately. Do not allow those emergency flashlights to be removed from their spots in non-emergency situations.

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor emergency lighting should be on a motion-detection system, which turns the light on when a sensor detects movement. If you are forced outside in an emergency, motion-detection emergency lighting will help you make your way to safety. Check for burnt-out bulbs each month, and check to see if there are any obstructions to the motion-detection system. For example, if a tree branch is beginning to grow in front of your motion detector, trim the branch. Clean the motion sensor at least once a month as well by wiping it off with a dry cloth.

Candles and Matches

Batteries can die and electricity can be cut off without warning. In order to ensure that you have light in an emergency situation, always keep a supply of candles and matches in an easy-to-find place. Camping lanterns are also convenient to have available if the power goes out and the batteries in your flashlight die.


Your home emergency lighting system runs on batteries, so you should check those batteries once a month to make sure they still hold enough power to do the job. Purchase a home emergency lighting system that has a battery-power gauge on it, and use rechargeable batteries to keep your battery costs down. Change out the batteries based on the recommendations in the manufacturer's manual for your emergency lighting system.

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