4 FM quick reads on elevator
1. Elevator Evacuation Closer to Practical Application
The industry is moving ever closer to practical application of using elevators for emergency evacuation. It has been determined in the 2009 NFPA code annex that elevators can be used as a means of egress in very tall buildings, as it can greatly shorten the time for a total building evacuation.
In the 2012 code, it was moved into the main body of the code. The infrastructure and hardware criteria have been established. What is being worked out is the communication piece to tenants. This includes signage to mark the elevator and also the proper notification modes, frequency and messages to provide in an emergency in regards to the evacuation elevator.
The final report by the Fire Protection Research Foundation was issued the first week of January and final elevator messaging recommendations will be worked on in the coming months, Robert Solomon, division manager for Building and Life Safety Codes, at National Fire Protection Association. However, even though the messaging is not yet standardized, there is enough guidance in the code for projects to move forward, Solomon says.
2. Facility Managers Can Help To Lessen Stress Of Elevator Stranding
I'm Justin Smith, managing editor of web development for Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip: keeping a cool head while trapped in an elevator. Once in a lifetime. Those are a person's odds of being stuck in an elevator, according to the Hometown Life newspaper in Detroit. With 700,000 elevators in the United States and 120 billion elevator rides per year, you may not know when it's your turn to get stuck, but facility managers can help soften the shock by communicating a few simple tips. These can help tenants, users or even yourself should the situation occur. First, don't panic. Remember that there is enough air inside. Locate the emergency call button or use a cell phone to call for help. Never attempt to open the doors yourself - the elevator may begin moving again at any time. Wait until a mechanic arrives to open the door for you. And don't worry about the cable snapping - many systems have redundant cables to protect against falling. With these short reminders, managers can prevent long headaches later.
3. Check ASME Codes Before A Full-Scale Elevator Modernization
I'm Justin Smith, managing editor of web development for Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip: elevator modernization. How can facility managers tell whether they should opt for a simple repair or a full-scale modernization? Start with codes. One resource is the National Elevator Code: American Society of Mechanical Engineers, A17.1. First, determine which version of the code is in effect. Some jurisdictions operate under code editions that may be 10 or more years old. Second, consider exactly what modernization means. It is critical to evaluate your system needs to determine if a simple repair will provide you with improved operation, or if a complete modernization will be required. Finally, consider that elevator upgrades can affect other building systems, like electrical or HVAC. If an elevator modernization is designed by the elevator company, the impact on the facility can be significant. With some planning, the upgrade process can be as smooth as possible.
4. FMs Should Brush Up On Local Elevator Inspection Standards
I'm Justin Smith, managing editor of web development for Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip: ensuring proper elevator certification.
Most people probably consider elevators convenient, but one professor at the University of Rhode Island recently experienced anything but. Associate Professor of Sociology Barbara Costello entered an elevator in a campus building on Thursday, March 11, but instead of carrying her to her destination, the elevator began to bounce up and down in place, according to the school's student newspaper. The doors of the elevator opened about two minutes later, but the situation is hardly uncommon on the campus. In a February 2009 article from the student paper, it was reported that 36 out of 64 elevators did not fully meet fire and safety codes, 18 required modifications, 12 were ineligible for new inspection certificates and six were completely non-compliant with state codes. University officials say the affected elevators have now either been fixed, or are scheduled for inspection. Facility managers around the country can take a cue from this situation and refresh themselves on the codes and standards that govern elevators in their facility, since the guidelines for frequency of inspection can be international, national, state, regional or city-based. Doing a little leg work now can prevent a sticky situation later.
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