Seismic Emergency Management

November 12, 2020

VDA Elevator Knowledge Center

From the desk of: Janice E. Clavet – Southwestern Region

Do you know that…

VDA’s staff in California includes personnel that has experienced the entire
evolution of seismic protection for elevator and escalator equipment. This
includes the Code changes associated with VT hardware as well as the
operational requirements associated with protecting passengers.

Seismic protection has evolved via every earthquake we have experienced since
1971. Initially brought on by the Sylmar Earthquake, the protection systems have
improved with each lesson learned. The 1989 Loma Preita Earthquake brought
us redundant systems. The 1994 Northridge Earthquake let us know that we also
need to pay attention to vertical forces and forces detrimental to escalators.
What was initially a local California Code of Regulations is now a part of the
National Elevator and Escalator Safety Regulations and most Building Codes.

There are now many different Codes to follow when considering the designs for
seismic protection. Codes vary with elevator type. Codes now exist for
escalators. Healthcare facilities include their own special requirements,
especially those under Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development
(OSHPD) jurisdiction. Most educational facilities have special requirements
overseen by the Division of the State Architect (DSA).

Should there be a need to upgrade equipment to meet the significant
improvements made in passenger and equipment protection, VDA can identify
the needs and options available on each installation. Should you have a new
building in the design phases, VDA can provide your structural engineer with the
data they need to design the building components necessary to support the
elevators and escalators. We can specify the Division 14 equipment necessary
for a Code compliant installation.