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Hurricane Protection for Elevators

Protect Your Investment

Protect Your Investment. Otis recommends that you take appropriate action prior to a hurricane to protect your elevator equipment investment. Preventing hurricane damage also can help you avoid extended elevator shutdowns.

Otis maintenance contracts don’t cover hurricane damage to elevator systems. Examine your insurance coverage. Some insurance policies also may not fully cover all hurricane damage.


Storm damage to equipment in an elevator machine room is often caused by water blowing in around ill-fitting windows, louvers and doors. Water also can flood into the hoistway, causing damage to wiring and other operating equipment. Preparations for an approaching hurricane are simple, and they can be effective in protecting your valuable elevator equipment.

  • Weather stripping around doors should be checked, and replaced or repaired if necessary.
  • An elevator machine room 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 machine-room ventilation.
  • Elevator machine-room windows can be blown out by strong winds. Fastening sheets of heavy plywood over windows can prevent water damage.


Otis recommends suspending 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. Stormdamaged roads may delay service mechanics attempting to respond to an elevator emergency.

  • 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.
  • Position elevators at the top floor if your building has elevator entrances open to the weather.
  • 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 cabs


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

  • Regardless of apparent water damage, DO NOT HESITATE to call Otis. But even if you can’t phone, our service mechanics will be in touch with you to restore elevator service and make needed repairs as soon as possible.