Your building elevators are especially vulnerable during any storm, and even more so during a hurricane. This article will discuss hurricane preparedness, as well as what to do once the storm has passed. We suggest doing pre-storm season preparations at the beginning of August, but even if that date has passed, the most important thing is to just get it done.
Where is the elevator machine room located?
Ground floor or Basement: there is a much greater risk of flooding for these units. Ensure they are inspected before and after the storm, taking flood prevention measures. Seal the entrance to the machine room door and protect electrical equipment.
Roof: Make sure all hoistway venting, machine room venting and doors are covered and watertight.
Your pre-hurricane season elevator and machine room checklist:
- Make sure all venting, doors, and inspection hatches are watertight.
- Kill all power to non-essential elevators and escalators and lock-out the disconnects.
- Make certain all elevator phones are operating correctly.
- Inspect all sump pumps for proper operation
- Create a document listing all elevator and escalator numbers, cab phone numbers, and service company emergency number.
- Once the storm hits elevators should be used by emergency personnel only.
When the storm has passed:
Wait until an all-clear has been announced by your local authorities before you attempt to start checking your building.
Once an all-clear has been established:
- Check for any trapped passengers. Should you find any, do not attempt a rescue. Call 911.
- DO NOT power up units without inspecting first for water damage, this includes machine rooms and car tops. (this work should be done by authorized service personnel)
- Even if your building looks fine or undamaged, do not assume that elevators are in working condition until they’ve had a thorough inspection and are cleared for operation by authorized service personnel.
- Open all vents that were closed to protect from water.
- If you will be filing an insurance claim it is important to document as much as possible: written records, photographs, videos with timestamps if possible.
- Save any damaged components you find.
Finally, never attempt to reset elevators if the circuit has an automatic shut-off, even if you don’t see water or damage. Serious injury or elevator damage could result. Instead, immediately notify your elevator service company.