Property managers have a myriad of responsibilities on their plates, so when it comes to elevators, the general thinking is, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Yet when elevators break down or work improperly, especially during inclement weather, we are reminded of their vital importance.
The best way to keep your elevator in fighting shape is to be proactive about its maintenance and repair. Of course, it’s a year-round task, but here we focus on how to make sure your elevators are ready for whatever winter brings.
Below are items to pay attention to/look out for, especially in winter weather, to help keep your elevators running safely and smoothly.
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Ice and snow presence
As we all know, ice and snow can accumulate very quickly. Tenants and visitors can unwittingly bring weather into the building, and also into your elevators. Before riders reach your elevator bank, place down mats and rugs that may absorb the ice and snow. That proactive “step” may also prevent slips and falls.
Winter isn’t only about snow. Under milder conditions, you may be dealing with heavy rain or freezing rain, which could turn into flooding. Make sure you have a sump pump on hand, and that it has had proper maintenance. Be sure that its battery is charged in case of an electrical outage. Keep your motor room insulated from oncoming flood water. Close vents to keep water from traveling through the shaft.
Floors can be deceiving. You may think a small bit of moisture or a few drops may not be a cause for concern, but even the slightest appearance of moisture can cause accidents. Resolve to keep the floors dry (mopped and swept) at all times.
Believe it or not, wind can do a number on your fragile elevator doors. Why? It travels through elevator shafts, as if it were traveling through a chimney. Wind damage can prevent your elevator doors from closing properly or completely.
This can be as damaging as moisture. It can interfere with your elevator’s regular functions. Be sure to regularly lubricate your elevator rails.
Screeching or squeaking noises
Unpleasant noises during elevator operations could mean that you are lacking grease or lubricant on your elevator rails (see the bullet point above).
Keep your lobby and elevators at a consistent temperature. Changing temperatures can cause damaging condensation. Controlled temperatures will help your elevator motor and its controls to work correctly. This can be maintained with regular, proper maintenance.
If your elevator is normally parked on an especially cold floor, it may affect its performance. Make sure the elevator is stationed on a floor (or in the lobby) that contains heat and/or warmer air.
If you are located in an area that experiences above-average cold winters, be sure to add extra layers of insulation to your elevators.
Winter storms can often lead to power outages. Be sure that your batteries and generators are fully charged before the storm hits. Make it a high-priority item on your winter maintenance checklist.
Machine room changes
Be sure that your machine room is climate controlled and never too hot or too cold. Fluctuations in temperature could be damaging to the room and also to the elevators. The best way to ensure machine room health is to schedule regular maintenance checks.
If you need to evacuate the building due to severe weather, make sure the elevators are parked on your top floor to keep them out of the flooding danger zone. Of course, do this after the tenants on the top floor are safely evacuated.
Make sure to invest in a high-quality emergency communications system (with backup options for power outages)
According to the National Elevator Industry, elevators and escalators safely move more people than any other form of transportation. In the U.S. people travel 2.55 billion miles on elevators and escalators each year. That is more than the total rail and air miles traveled combined, or 1/2 of all highway trips per year.
With those numbers in mind, it’s inevitable that there will be malfunctions and weather-related problems. However, you’ll always have peace of mind with an in-elevator emergency communications system like the one offered by Kings III.
With the push of a button, your elevator riders will be put in touch with our emergency dispatch center anytime: 24/7/365. Our trained, professional, multi-lingual operators will access the immediate needs of your passengers, and dispatch emergency services as needed. They can also follow a call-list that you designate.
If your elevator passenger requires medical attention, a Kings III operator can help immediately. Our operators are Advanced Emergency Medical Dispatch certified (AEMD). That means they can provide step-by-step pre-arrival instructions as needed. This includes CPR. This certification exceeds all national requirements and allows our dispatchers to handle all emergency calls seamlessly.
No medical attention required? It’s all good. Our operators can stay on the line with an anxious or terrified passenger, offering an empathetic ear and continual assurance until help arrives. We can also notify loved ones or employers on the passenger’s behalf.
Finally, remember how we said with winter storms can come power outages? A power outage simply won’t cut it if there is an emergency in your elevator or on your property. Our emergency dispatch center is set up to run smoothly in contingencies such as power outages. Learn how: Recent Winter Storms Highlight Need to Plan for All Contingencies in an Emergency.
Find out more about how a Kings III Emergency Communications System can help your elevator passengers in winter weather – and all year round, contact us.