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Emergency Preparedness and the Home Elevator

Emergency Preparedness and the Home Elevator

When the storm clouds roll in or the tornado sirens wail, you know to seek cover. But, what if seeking cover means you need to evacuate?  Floods and hurricanes are often forecast well in advance giving people in the affected area time to prepare. If you have an elevator in your home, there are a few easy steps you can follow to ensure you are prepared for a weather emergency and for evacuation. If you do not have time to implement this shut down procedure, STOP AND LEAVE!  Elevators can be fixed or replaced, you and/or your family can not.

Home Elevators Evacuation Procedure

If you face an emergency evacuation, here are some quick things you can do to help prevent damage to your elevator:

In preparation for the storm:

  • Run your elevator to the highest landing
  • If you have access, go to the machine room and turn the power to the elevator off. Keep in mind that most residential elevators have 2 power sources, one that operates the machine, and one that powers the car lighting.  You will want to turn both power switches off.
    • Some elevators are supplied with an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) system, intended to power the elevator in the event of interruption to the main power supply. This power supply can be turned off, by pressing the power button.  Turning the UPS off will prevent the UPS alarm from sounding and will prevent the batteries from draining due to extended operation.  If you hear beeping, the system is still on.

If you choose to ride the storm out:

  • Remember that most residential elevators are not equipped to detect a flooded hoistway. This means you could run the elevator to a flooded floor which is a dangerous situation.  For this reason, you should never ride an elevator when a flooding event may occur. 

After the Storm

When the weather has subsided, contact your local elevator service company to inspect and restart the elevator. Do not attempt to start the elevator on your own, as some of the potential issues may not be visible. For instance, if water has entered the elevator hoistway, accumulation in the pit may cause an unsafe condition. Your local home elevator company has trained technicians available to assess the situation and get your elevator running again.

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