PRIOR TO HURRICANE SEASON – APRIL AND MAY
• Check the operation of all vents and openings in the machine room and hoist way walls to insure proper operation. This is to make sure that driving rain will not blow through the vents.
• Check to make sure all doors, vents and other openings are properly caulked and sealed to prevent water intrusion. Make sure any fire rated doors are not corroded as this may affect the fire rating and structural integrity of the door.
• Inspect and/or consider installing an emergency battery lowering system. A Battery Lowering Device will automatically lower an elevator, in the event of a main power supply failure. If the power goes off the Battery Lowering Device comes on and descends the elevator to the lowest landing and opens its doors to discharge the passengers who might otherwise have been trapped.
• Check all sump pumps, float switches and alarms to insure proper operation.
BEFORE A HURRICANE
• Re-check all sump pumps, float switches and alarms in the elevator pits.
• Close up all vents and openings in the top hoist way and machine room to prevent water intrusion. If the machine room is air conditioned you shouldn’t have vents, except for emergencies. Also be mindful that vent closing in the machine room should be done as the last stage of your preparation as the equipment can heat up much faster than you might think.
• Elevators that open to the outside will need to have sand bags placed along the bottom of the hoist way doors. Since this makes the elevator unusable, do this just before shutting down the elevator.
• In your designated security area you should have a diagram of the location of your elevators, the car numbers, as well as the elevator car phone numbers, and your elevator company’s emergency number.
DURING A HURRICANE
• Run the elevator to either the center of the hoist way for a traction elevator or to the top floor for hydraulic elevators.
• Pull the main breaker in the machine room. This will prevent an unauthorized person from moving the elevator, prevent severe damage caused by short circuits from wet circuitry, or voltage surges, spikes or dips. After the equipment is dried out it can be quickly restarted by the mechanic with little or no damage.
• Park elevators with doors closed. This will prevent debris from entering the hoist way and anyone from inadvertently getting trapped.
• Do not operate the elevator during the Hurricane.
AFTER A HURRICANE
• Inspect pit, cab and the machine room for indication of water. If water is found call the elevator company.
• Do not attempt the start the elevator if the power is out.
• Ask your elevator contractor for an inspection of the elevators.
HAVE A PLAN FOR THE DISABLED
It is mandatory that you have a plan to account for the probability that the equipment will not be available for the disabled, before, during and after a hurricane. A plan should be in place for advanced placement of the disabled in an appropriate designated shelter or other appropriate arrangements.
By Jamie Richardson, Business Development Manager, Oracle Elevator