Preparing Your Elevator for a Hurricane

Hurricane preparedness for elevators

It’s hurricane season again, so we’re keeping this checklist up at the top of our blog. Let’s all make sure to stay safe, and if you need us, we’re here for you.

So, on to the hurricane preparedness list…


  • Check all sump pumps, float switches and alarms in elevator pits.
  • Close up all vents and openings in top of hoistway and machine room to prevent water from entering.
  • If elevators open to the outside, place sandbags along the bottom of hoistway doors. Since this makes the elevator unusable, do this just before shutting down the elevator.


  • Run elevators to the top floor of hoistway and pull the main breaker in the elevator machine room (not in the building’s main breaker room).
  • Park elevators with doors closed.
  • Do not operate elevators during the hurricane.


  • Inspect the elevator pit, cab and machine room for any water. Do not energize main line breaker if water is found.
  • If water is found, call your elevator service provider immediately!
  • Do not attempt to start elevator if power is out – call your electric company

Even with the proper preparations, hurricanes often cause power outages and surges that can stop elevators between floors and entrap passengers, and worse, knock out the emergency communication system. Be aware that people may be trapped in elevators with no way to call for help. We can’t state this strongly enough: never try to exit, or attempt to help others exit, a stalled elevator without trained professional rescue workers on hand.

Top 6 Elevator Myths Debunked

Businessman taking the elevator

Action movies often use elevators for dramatic effect, perpetuating myths that can trigger anxiety for some elevator passengers. But those misconceptions can stay where they belong – in fiction. We’re here to lay out the facts.

Not all that you see in movies is true. In the real world, elevators and escalators are highly regulated and designed with many safety features that protect passengers. Keeping elevators safe is a joint effort that involves technology and maintenance service providers, building owners, and equipment users. Importantly, following simple safety tips will ensure a seamless ride.

Let’s debunk a few urban legends about elevators.

Myth #1: Elevators are held up by one rope that could break.

Nope! Elevators are supported by multiple steel cables, and each cable alone can support a fully loaded car. It is highly unusual for even a single rope to break. Even in the extremely improbable case of all the ropes snapping, safety features like the overspeed governor will detect the overspeed of the elevator and activate safety devices to stop the elevator.

Those action scenes where the sparks fly off the guide rails as the elevator races down uncontrollably are pure Hollywood nonsense.

Myth #2: An overcrowded elevator will fall.

Not true. Normally, an overloaded car just won’t move. The doors will stay open and a buzzer may ring until enough people get off the elevator to reduce the weight. Many elevators are equipped with technology that will effectively guide riders to available elevators to reduce overcrowding in the first place.

Myth #3: An elevator car can run out of oxygen if it gets stuck between floors.

Breathe easy on this one. Elevator cars are well ventilated. While country regulations may vary, there are international standards for ventilation that must be adhered to so air moves freely in and out. In some cases, elevators are also equipped with air conditioning.

Myth #4: It’s possible to escape from inside an elevator car into the shaft through a safety hatch.

Safety hatches or trap doors often exist for rescue purposes, but most can only be opened from the outside by trained rescue professionals. Passengers should never attempt to use them as escape routes. So, if you’re trapped in an elevator, the safest thing to do is press the alarm button (or call for help on your phone), stay put, and wait to be rescued. In many cases, the alarm button is connected to a rescue service.

Never attempt to get out by yourself. And never pry an elevator’s doors open either, because the elevator might not be in front of a door opening. You could put yourself and other passengers in danger.

Myth #5: Pushing the call button multiple times will make the elevator arrive faster.

Sorry to disappoint, but this isn’t the case. When you push the button, the elevator gets your “call” and its software determines the elevator’s route. There are simpler and more sophisticated call systems, but the basic idea is the same: one push is enough to generate action.

Pushing the button several times often makes us feel like we’re doing something to speed things up – but in reality, it doesn’t make any difference. Pressing the “door close” button once inside the car, however, will trigger the doors to close sooner.

Myth #6: The elevator doors can open between floors.

The simple answer is no. The elevator car controls the opening of the landing door. If the car doesn’t arrive to the floor, there is no signal that triggers the landing doors to open. If in doubt, under no circumstances should you attempt to pry the doors open or get out on your own.

No matter what, don’t panic. Getting nervous will only make things worse, so the first thing to do is take a deep breath. And if you’ve already made contact with maintenance or emergency personnel, sit tight. Elevator entrapment calls are always taken seriously, and maintenance teams are focused on rescuing you in a safe way, as fast as possible.


Pop quiz: What is one of the most important things you should do while riding an escalator?

Answer: Always hold onto the handrail.

While that is extremely important, it also poses a problem. With all the people who ride an escalator every day, every one of those riders has their own unique mix of microbes living on the palms of their hands. Most are harmless, and some are even beneficial — but some are not. And this figurative zoo of microbes gets deposited, layer by layer, on an escalator handrail every single day.

It’s like a microbe superhighway, transferring a whole village of little travelers from one person to another, every minute, every hour.

Most are harmless … but some are not so harmless, such as … well, you know. That one. The one that’s set the entire world into turmoil.

The subject of germs on escalator handrails has unfortunately prompted news organizations to actually advise people to not hold onto the handrails: CBS News Article

It’s extremely important to hold onto that handrail for safety, so what’s the solution to this problem? It’s not like you can require all riders to wear gloves. It’s also not a good idea to constantly slather the surface of a handrail with alcohol or other disinfectants, because it might make the handrail slippery, and also it may hasten the deterioration of the handrail material itself.

The good news is there is a solution. In fact, it’s a really good solution: ultraviolet light, or UV-C rays.

What if you could put a small, easy to install and maintain, low power module into the escalator itself which continuously blasts UV-C wavelengths onto the surface of a handrail? Something that sterilizes the entire surface of the handrail with every revolution? So while people are unwittingly depositing their little microbial hitchhikers on the handrail, the bugs are instantly zapped within minutes as the handrail disappears into the balustrade and passes through the ultraviolet emitter?

If you think this is a good idea, we agree with you, and we have exactly this solution.

This is an Ultraviolet Handrail Sterilizer, and it does precisely what you’d want it to do: constantly sanitize the handrail as it runs through the escalator.

Not only does this solve the problem of disinfecting the handrail, but if you advertise the fact that it’s happening with a sign by the escalator, you encourage people to actually use the handrails (which they might not have been doing for fear of all the germs).

This increases the safety of the riding public by reducing the infection vector and encouraging them to use one of the most important safety features of an escalator.

For more information, see our product page here:

The Ultraviolet Handrail Sterilizer is only one part of our KONE Spares Engineered Escalator Solutions, a collection of mods and upgrades to make older escalators new again.

KONE Spares Drive Upgrades

We have what you need to quickly and easily upgrade Montgomery Miprom 21 and V3F16L drives.

Why reuse old, used technology? If you want it to be truly trouble-free for your customer, don’t repair it … upgrade it!

Montgomery Miprom 21 Drive Conversion Advantages:

  • Conversion solution for tired Miprom 21 and Megatech elevator controller equipment
  • Our new drive panel packages are direct replacements for obsolete components
  • Increase ride quality and dependability
  • AC and DC equipment options available
  • Engineered and pre-wired for ease of installation
  • Pre-programmed to piloted default settings
  • Simple drive auto tune facilitates set up
  • Average installation time is 8-12 hours
  • Drive Conversion Kits include step-by-step instructions, parameter lists, updated wiring diagrams, spare parts information and all necessary hardware

KDL16L Elevator Drive Advantages:

  • New OEM Reliable Upgrade solution for Obsolete V3F16L Drive
  • Direct, Physical Replacement for the Obsolete KONE V3F16L
  • Our solution eliminates uncertain reliability of repairing the obsolete V3F16L, which means less downtime for the unit
  • In Stock and available for immediate shipment
  • More Powerful than current drives
  • Encoder vs. tachometer for smoother operation
  • Available for adjacent or remote control room applications
  • Complete replacement kit with all necessary components and instructions makes change-out hassle free


The combplate impact device has been a required safety device per ASME A17.1 Safety Code for Elevators & Escalators since the early 1990’s. KONE Spares has developed combplate impact upgrade kits for all Montgomery HR Series escalators model types manufactured from the 1960’s thru the early 2000’s. 

To learn more about this upgrade and why it’s an important safety feature, we invite you to watch this short informational video excerpted from our NAEC 2020 presentations:

For anyone who received this as an email and are having problems viewing the video, please use the link above to see it on the KONE Spares website.