Blake Fire and Security Systems

Your School's Duty Of Care, Emergency Lighting And Hours of Darkness

Date: 20 July 2023

The Hours of Darkness myth is a dangerous one. The truth is that 99.9% of schools require emergency lighting to fulfil their duty of care. If you don't think yours is one of them you need to read this post!

There is confusion around opening times, school usage and hours of darkness. Confusion that can leave the Responsible Person in hot water!
A school has a duty of care to its pupils, staff and visitors. It's a legal requirement that all non-domestic buildings are safe at all times. This includes schools.
This means two things:

Crucially, anyone who is unfamiliar with the building should be able to safely find their way out. If in doubt, take someone that doesn't know your site and try the emergency lighting rule of thumb test.

The problem comes when schools believe a common myth. They think they are exempt from installing emergency lighting systems!


The Hours of Darkness Myth!

It's easy to see how the confusion occurs. Pupils usually leave by 3.30pm. There is plenty of daylight to allow safe evacuation in case of power failure or fire. Fair enough.
Sometimes, borrowed light from outside provides some illumination inside the building. Any relevant person should easily be able to escape safely. Okay, we follow your argument.
BUT! And there's a huge but...
Almost every school building in the country is used out of teaching hours. So the "not used during the hours of darkness excuse" is invalid!
For example:
  • Schools hold parent evenings
  • Older pupils will have evening productions and events
  • The sports hall and other facilities may be hired out
  • Cleaners, maintenance workers and contractors do not leave at 3.30pm
  • Teachers often work early or late
  • Breakfast and after school clubs are more common and well subscribed
And the list goes on.
You can see how someone may have ticked 'not required' on the Fire Risk Assessment. This is an error. Your Fire Safety Inspector will not be impressed!
Avoid prosecution, fines and worse! Click the button below to learn 10 things the Responsible Person MUST get right.
10 things the responsible person must know

The simple truth...

  • Schools are used during the hours of darkness
  • All non-domestic buildings are required to be safe at all times
  • Well-lit emergency routes and exits must be easy to find, follow and use
The moral of the story is - schools need to ignore the myths and comply with the law! And that means Emergency Lighting is obligatory.
Blake's have all the up to date guidance and information you need. Our experts are BAFE and NSI Gold accredited so you stay safe and compliant.
The Responsible Person in a school simply can't rely on myths. The penalties are too severe. They have important things that MUST be done right for the safety of everyone so they need FACTS. We've written a handy guide to help you avoid some of the common mistakes we see time after time.

Click the image below and download your copy now!

10 things the responsible person must know

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This blog post is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. Call Blake's on 01702 447800 to speak to one of our professionals for specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content on our site.

Although we make reasonable efforts to update the information on our site, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our site is accurate, complete or up to date.

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