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Proper Preparation for Elevator Emergencies

D&D Elevator on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at 8:00:00 am 

Emergency phone by Viking Security & Communication SolutionsEmergency phone by Viking Security
& Communication Solutions

Property owners and managers daily are faced with an ever-changing array of issues and challenges on which to remain current. Given this reality – plus the ongoing issues of “time to focus” and managing budgets and expenses – it is easy to slip into a pattern of avoiding matters that should or must be addressed for reasons of safety and code compliance. Ignoring these issues can lead to significant future costs in money and time, and, in a worst-case scenario, tragedy. This is especially true when it comes to preparing one’s elevators for emergencies, and we focus here on three specific categories: Emergency Phones, Emergency Lighting and Firefighter Services Operation, which is required by A.17.1 2000 Code & NYC DOB Code Appendix K.

Emergency Phones

Code now requires emergency “hands free” phones to be installed in all elevator cabs, with, per the American Disabilities Act, the ability for disabled persons to operate them and call quickly and effectively for help. Today’s typical configurations for emergency phone systems include the ability for trapped passengers to initiate a call with only the touch of a button, which triggers a process of reaching out for “human” help and acknowledging to entrapped passengers that it is on the way. This process also can convey to the service provider the exact location of where the entrapment is occurring.

Emergency lighting by GAL - note battery at rear

Emergency lighting by GAL -
note battery at rear

Emergency Lighting

Currently required by national code, emergency lighting systems are designed to illuminate the cab in the event of a power failure and provide visibility, comfort and safety to passengers trapped in a stalled elevator. Such systems must contain code-specified batteries that ensure that the cab is lit when emergency strikes.

Code additionally requires in part that not less than two auxiliary lamps shall be provided; that the illumination at the car threshold, with the door closed, shall be not less than 50 lx (5 fc) for passenger cars and half this for freight cars; that auxiliary lights shall be automatically turned on in all elevators in service after normal car light fails; and that the power system shall be capable of maintaining the above light intensity for a period of at least 4 hours.

Hall stations by GAL,  showing instructions in case of fire,  and lock for use by firefighters

Hall stations by GAL, showing warning in case of fire, and lock for use by firefighters

Firefighter’s Service Operation

In spite of prominent building signage and the advice that has been common for decades about the dangerous chimney effect of elevator shafts, when a fire occurs in a building, many occupants reflexively make a beeline for the elevators. All too often, such behavior has been the cause of severe injury and death. Firefighter’s Service Operation consists of a set of devices that suspends all cabs from “normal” mode (disabling all hall and car calls), allows special operation by firefighters and emergency personnel, and sends the cars to a designated fire recall landing in the building. From there, passengers are much better able to safely exit the elevator and the building. Without such a system, elevators can continue their normal operation during a fire with potentially catastrophic consequences.

D&D Can Help!

When it comes to elevators, best practice is always to expect the unexpected. The experts at D&D Elevator stand ready to help you evaluate your particular “emergency” needs – to cost-efficiently guide you through the sometimes-bewildering maze of ASME and other national, regional and local code requirements – and boost your peace-of-mind!