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Proper Preparation for Elevator Emergencies

By: D&D Elevator

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!

Significant Code Changes that will Affect Your Elevators!

By: D&D Elevator

For reasons of safety and code compliance, property owners and managers should be aware that there are requirements that must be adhered to.

First up is regarding Elevator Door Lock Monitoring. The New York City Department of Buildings has announced that – by January 1, 2020 – all "automatic passenger and freight elevators must provide a system to monitor and prevent automatic operation with faulty door contact circuits."

Example of Door Lock MonitorElevator Door Lock Monitoring

The code is a requirement of Appendix K3, Rule 3.10.2, stating that the car doors must be monitored to prevent the following two issues:

  1. To prevent operation of the car if the car door is not closed, regardless of whether the car-door contact and interlock contact circuits are open or closed (excluding the access switch operation and inspection operation)
  2. To prevent power closing of the doors if the door is open and the car door contact circuit is closed or bypassed, or if the interlock circuit is closed (excluding during Firefighters' Service Phase II). Primarily, this determines if jumpers or other means of bypassing normal operation are being used

Elevators installed or modernized prior to July 1, 2009 will require a software and possibly a hardware update. Controllers installed or modernized after July 1, 2009 may already be partially compliant and may require installation of additional hardware or software – this will need to be confirmed by the elevator contractor. Elevators installed or modernized after January 2, 2015 may be equipped to be made fully compliant but, may need hardware or software installed. This also should be confirmed by the elevator contractor. If the controller cannot be adapted with the hardware or software upgrades, a modernization may be required. All modifications and/or software changes to the controller will require filing with the New York City Department of Buildings, and inspection and testing upon completion.

Further ahead, by 2027, Rope Grippers will be required by the NYC Building Code 2.19.2 and 2.8.4.1 Appendix K. Elevators without them will be considered non-compliant. Such devices – developed to safeguard passengers by stopping an elevator in case of a mechanical and/or electrical failure.

Example of Rope GripperRope Grippers

Rope Grippers will be required by the NYC Building Code 2.19.2 and 2.8.4.1 Appendix K. Elevators without them will be considered non-compliant. Such a device – developed to safeguard passengers by stopping an elevator in case of a mechanical and/or electrical failure – must be installed on all elevators by 2027. Rope grippers detect emergency situations, including if a car leaves a floor with the door open. They provide over-speed detection and unintended car movement with the door open when caused by brake, control or drive failure. 

D&D Can Help!

The experts at D&D Elevator stand ready to help you evaluate your particular needs – to cost-efficiently achieve code-compliance and safety – and boost your peace-of-mind!

For your convenience and future reference, we have created a 2-page fact sheet that you can print as a PDF and retain.  

Download Here

Addressing the Skilled Labor Shortage: D&D Elevator to open NYC-area Training Center for Elevator Technicians

By: D&D Elevator

D&D Training CenterOne of the primary issues facing U.S. industry today – across virtually all the manual labor trades, and particularly in construction – is an ongoing shortage of trained technicians. In the face of this skilled labor shortage, construction contractors across the U.S. are being forced into the uncomfortable position of having to turn down work. A recent Wall Street Journal survey revealed that more than 33% of the survey’s respondents needed to do so to maintain their project volume, a particular problem on the coasts and in regions recently affected by catastrophic weather events.

In the currently-bustling economic environment, there is no shortage of jobs in construction, but rather of skilled workers to fill them. Around the U.S., this is being strongly felt in the elevator industry, where steadily-growing building construction has created increasing demand for technicians to install, service and maintain new and existing systems. More and more one hears, “we need more trained technicians, but there’s no one available to hire.” Many firms are reporting that this is their greatest single challenge and that they are expecting such conditions to escalate in the months and years ahead. Some are offering increased compensation and benefits to attract the additional skilled labor they need, but to little or no avail.

According to Bob Schaeffer, CEO and President of Elmsford NY-based D&D Elevator Maintenance, the solution is “training, training, training,” and D&D has a plan underway to help.

An elevator industry veteran, Schaeffer has throughout his career been a strong advocate for education. Among his many accreditations, he served as board president of the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) and, as Education Chairman, was instrumental in creating the Certified Elevator Technician (CET™) certification. This nationally-recognized certificate program provides the elevator industry with the means of obtaining and verifying knowledge and experience requirements related to compliance with industry codes, elevator and escalator specific technical theory, components, and competencies.

For its own company, D&D Elevator has been delivering apprenticeship training for over 15 years with great success. Explains Schaeffer: “To allow us to grow at a reasonable pace, our goal was to make sure we always had enough skilled workers, while maintaining and enhancing our existing workforce. More recently, we have seen a dynamic change in the workforce. Retirees have outpaced new apprentices and rather than deal with the rigors of daily maintenance, repairs, modernizations and the installation of elevators, many qualified technicians have opted to become inspectors and third-party witnesses. Our industry urgently needs a young, skilled labor force to come in behind them.”

To address this need, D&D is working on expanding the training model to other elevator companies nationwide that subscribe to the common goal of using only educated and safety-trained skilled labor. When D&D began asking other companies if they had any interest in this, the answer was a resounding ‘if you build it, we will come.’ Accordingly, D&D has begun the process of building a 2,500-sq-ft Elevator Learning Center in Yonkers, NY, minutes north of New York City, anticipated to open Spring 2018. In keeping with the objective of developing an innovative education model that other companies would find valuable – while ensuring that the educational content is proven and accepted – all classes are being taught by highly-experienced and certified instructors.

According to Schaeffer, the overarching objective of the Center is to allow for other companies to train at its facility, either through its approved educational delivery system, or a process created through contractor related organizations. The Center’s services will include certified testing, proctoring and graduate placement services for entities that provide apprenticeship and re-certification. Working with Human Resource professionals, it is planning to add personal attribute and ethics training to help create well-rounded candidates who understand the importance of communication, quality and professionalism. Preliminary discussions are underway with school districts to include an elevator technician pilot program in trade schools at the high school level, to prepare students for apprenticeship training.

To provide actual hands-on, “real-life” training for students, the Center is receiving equipment from many companies in our industry, including Titan, Hollister-Whitney, Columbia Elevator, Delaware Elevator, AFD Industries, Innovation Industries, GAL, ESI, SmartRise and others; we are most grateful for their generous contributions to this mission.

Concludes Schaeffer: “We see this approach as a solution to the shortage of skilled labor – to help build a body of educated, trained, skilled, responsible workers for our industry, who can make an extremely good living while serving a pressing societal need.”

Elevator Training Center Yonkers