According to the Building Code of Australia (BCA), if the exit from any room does not open onto a space with adequate natural light (in the event of an emergency) then it doesn’t meet Exit Light Regulations and emergency lights installation is required. Childcare centres have distinct requirements when it comes to fire and security. Childcare centres have a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure the safety of children in their care at all times, including preventing the risk of a fire.
Why are Exit Light Regulations Important?
If a fire breaks out in a Childcare centre, the lights will usually go out and the smoke is able to fill up the room, making it impossible or difficult to see still throughout the day with the sun shining in the windows. In case it is dark outside or nighttime, individuals can easily get caught in a dark building and then die because they can’t see to get away from the fire. Emergency Exit Lights avoid this as they remain lit even when the electrical energy goes out as well as helps guide any individual in the building to a secure exit.
Location and Lighting of Exit Signs
Legislation requirements for all Exit Signs in all buildings, including child care centres under the Building Code of Australia.
A level of illumination for safe evacuation in an emergency must be provided, to the degree necessary, appropriate to —
(a) the function or use of the building; and
(b) the floor area of the building; and
(c) the distance of travel to an exit.
Exits must be provided from a building to allow building occupants to evacuate safely, with their number, location, and dimensions being appropriate to—
(a) the travel distance; and
(b) the number, mobility and other characteristics of occupants; and
(c) the function or use of the building; and
(d) the height of the building; and
(e) whether the exit is from above or below ground level.
To facilitate evacuation, suitable signs or other means of identification must, to the degree necessary —
(a) be provided to identify the location of exits; and
(b) guide occupants to exits; and
(c) be clearly visible to occupants; and
(d) operate in the event of a power failure of the main lighting system for sufficient time for occupants to safely evacuate.
Consulting a fire and safety professional with experience in the childcare industry can help provide useful guidance to make certain the facility isn’t just safe and protected but is in compliance with strict regulations, Exit Light Regulations and development standards for Child Care Centres.