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Preparing Elevators for Harsh Weather Seasons

During a season in which weather can be potentially hazardous, it is important that maintenance and engineering managers take the proper precautions to help prevent elevator damage and protect the safety of building occupants. Schindler Elevator Corp. offers the following tips to consider before, during and after weather-related events.

Initial preparations

A diagram showing the location of elevators, car numbers and the elevator car phone number should be in the designated security area. In addition, the elevator company’s emergency phone number should be available, along with any required numerical designations.

Before any inclement weather happens, managers can start by inspecting the elevator machine room’s ventilation openings, windows and doors for possible rain leakage. If water leakage is found during the inspection, technicians can prevent water from reaching electrical panels by installing metal splash guards around ventilation openings and weatherstripping around any machine room doors that open to the outdoors.

Before a storm hits

If a storm is near, there are steps that should be taken immediately to prevent damage to elevator equipment. The first step is to close all vents and openings at the top of the hoistway to prevent water from entering the elevator shaft. Next, barricade the machine room, and be sure no occupants are left in buildings that are reliant on elevators for egress. “If buildings have elevators that are enclosed, managers should run each car to the center of the building, or to the top floor for two-story buildings,” says Bryan Budnik, director of customer excellence and repair with Schindler. “Elevators exposed to the outdoors should always be run to the floor below the top. After cars are parked appropriately, shut the elevator down with the keyed switch, and close the doors to prevent unauthorized personnel from using the equipment. In addition, place the mainline disconnect in the off position to completely remove power from the elevator. Schindler personnel can provide assistance if a customer is unsure of what to do.”

While parking elevators and preventing unauthorized use is important, preparing for power problems is a necessity.

“Managers should also familiarize themselves with their equipment’s emergency systems in case there is a need to exit passengers quickly,” Budnik says. “Ensure that the elevator has a surge protection system. If there is an emergency power generation system backup or an emergency return system for hydraulic, machine room-less or traction elevators make sure it is reliable. Finally, ensure that emergency lighting and elevator communications are operable.”

Before and after the storm

Refrain from using an elevator at all due to the water or wind-driven water that can disable elevators and lead to dangerous passenger entrapments. As soon as the weather has cleared, check for water on the control panels or in the machine room before restoring power. If water is found, do not resume operation until the elevator service provider provides a thorough inspection.

Because weather conditions can be unpredictable, Schindler recommends that managers take these precautions and set up a process ahead of time in order to secure safety of the equipment and its occupants. Practice sessions should be conducted during low-demand hours of the elevator system and in the presence of a supervisor within the facility, or trained elevator technician.

For questions or assistance, customers should contact their elevator service provider for implementation of these and other safety measures.

About Schindler Elevator Corp.
Schindler Elevator Corp. is the North American operation of the Switzerland-based Schindler Group, a leading global mobility provider of elevators, escalators and related services. Schindler supports sustainable urban development with safe, reliable and sustainable mobility solutions, moving more than 1 billion people every day all over the world. Behind the company’s success are over 58,000 employees operating in more than 100 countries. For additional information about Schindler Elevator Corp., visit www.us.schindler.com.