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Stormy Weather Ahead? Act Now to Protect Your Elevators

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season in 2021. Catastrophic weather brings torrential downpours and flooding that can damage your elevator system.

stormy weather

With hurricane season underway, building owners and property managers can act as follows to prepare your elevators:

  • Diagram elevator locations in your building. Include car numbers and the elevator car phone number in your designated security area.
  • Inspect machine room vents, windows and doors for leaks. Install splash guards around vent openings to safeguard electrical panels from water. Add weather stripping around exterior machine room doors.
  • Replace corroded doors, and check sump pumps and float switches in the elevator pit.
  • Check emergency lighting and elevator communications, and ensure elevators have surge protection.

If a storm is headed your way, make these immediate preparations:

  • Ensure occupants who rely on elevators evacuate the building.
  • Close vents and openings in the top of the hoist way to keep water from the elevator shaft, and barricade machine room windows.
  • In one-story buildings, run each elevator car to the center of the hoist way. In multi-story buildings, run the elevator car to the top floor. Run the elevator cars in parking garages or exposed to the outdoors to the floor below the top floor.
  • Shut the elevator down with the keyed switch, close the doors and remove power.

Remember water can disable elevators and lead to potentially dangerous passenger entrapments.

After the storm, check for water on the control panels or in the machine room before restoring power. Don’t resume hydraulic elevator operation before a technician’s thorough inspection. Reopen any vents or openings sealed before the storm.

Preparedness takes practice. Devise a plan and run drills so when bad weather approaches, facility management knows how to act fast.