Hurricane Protection for your Elevators

July 29, 2020

VDA Elevator Knowledge Center

From the desk of: Mike Nolan – Southeast Region

Do you know that…

Most Elevator Maintenance Contracts do not cover hurricane damage to elevator systems. Examine your Insurance coverage as some policies may not fully cover all hurricane damage.


Storm damage to equipment in an elevator machine room is often caused by water blowing in and around poorly fitted windows, louvers, and/or doors. Water can also flow into the hoistway, causing damage to wiring other electrical and operating equipment. Preparations for an approaching storm are simple and can be very effective in protecting your valuable elevator equipment.

  • Weatherstripping around doors should be checked and replaced or repaired if necessary.
  • An elevator machine room and/or hoistway (shaft) with louvers can be protected from blowing rain by fastening a sheet of plywood to the inside of the ventilation opening.  After the storm, this shield should be removed to provide adequate ventilation. 
  • Elevator machine-room windows, if applicable, can be blow out by strong winds.  Fastening sheets of heavy plywood over windows can prevent water damage.


It is recommended to suspend all elevator operation during a hurricane even if your building has an emergency generator.  This precaution can avoid trapping elevator passengers in the event of a power failure or elevator shutdown.  Storm damaged roads may delay service mechanics attempting to respond to an elevator emergency. 

  • Position elevators at the top floor and turn off power. Especially if your building has elevator entrances open to the weather. 
  • If your elevators are internal to the building, park all elevators near the center of the hoistway.  This will help keep the elevator cars, traveling cables and counterweights from being damaged by water entering the elevator pit. 
  • Shut down your elevator system at the mainline disconnect in the machine room.  If necessary, you also can shut off the elevators by using the key switches in the cab, however, it is best if the power is removed. Leave the Cab lighting on, however as that need to keep emergency batteries charged as long as possible. 


Although your elevator equipment may have no apparent water damage, be cautious.  Unseen structural damage can cause an emergency shut down if you operate the elevator system before a qualified mechanic inspects it.   

Regardless of no apparent water damage, call your Maintenance Provider, their service mechanics will be able to restore elevator service with less repair time.   

Should you need assistance or advice on how to proceed after the storm, or are concerned with the repairs proposed, please do not hesitate to contact VDA. We will have additional manpower available to assist if needed. VDA has over 3,000 Years of Combined Industry knowledge accumulated from our 130+ Elevator Professionals.  When you think of Elevators, think of VDA and we will make your problems go away.  

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Related Staff

Michael Nolan

Senior Associate

Related Office