Climate Change Is Flooding Elevators: How You Can Protect Your Business

Climate change is flooding elevators causing extensive and expensive damages to properties unprepared.

During a severe storm in Omaha on August 7, 2021, a group of friends found themselves stuck in an apartment elevator as floodwaters came rushing in. Within a matter of minutes, they were neck deep in sewage water with no way out. This Omaha elevator flood story quickly went viral with the group recording and sharing their terrifying experience. Thankfully, they were rescued and are alive and well today.

The urgent reality is that climate change is flooding more elevators - and this occurrence will continue to rise as damage from global heating rapidly increases.

Climate change and flooding

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just released their 2022 assessment on the impact of climate change. The report is based on 34,000 studies documenting worldwide heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, storms, and floods. The results are grim, to say the least. 

The report, produced by more than 1,000 physical and social scientists and approved by the governments of 195 nations, gives an honest look at the vulnerabilities and limits we face as a society in adapting to climate change. The consequences of climate change are coming quicker than what scientists had initially thought.

The IPCC 2022 Climate Change report states that the population at risk of serious flooding is growing by half a million people each year. Over a billion people living on coastlines will be exposed to severe flooding by 2050.

The risk of flooding in elevators due to climate change

When we think of climate change, we think of the world gradually heating up, causing massive drought, melting the polar ice caps, and destroying crops. While this reality is on a massive, global scale, the consequences can be felt within our communities. The risk of flooding to buildings is steadily increasing with elevators being the most vulnerable because elevator pits are typically the lowest point in a building.

When a storm begins to roll in, elevators need to be protected. Floodwaters can permanently damage equipment and some insurance companies will not pay the entire claim if the client does not send the elevator cab to the second level. This leaves the building and business out of service.

How Flood Risk America can help prevent elevator flooding

Our Elevator and Control Room Flood Prevention Program addresses 3 steps:

  1. Analyze low points of elevation around the building that allows us to identify the exact location that is prone to flooding.
  2. 24/7 flood forecasting and monitoring where our clients receive alerts on current water level activity 24 hours before the storm. Our flood sensory system mounted in the elevator shaft and control room notifies FRA’s monitoring center. We alert our clients in real-time via email or text to send the elevator cab up to the next highest floor.
  3. Finally, our flood prevention team is dispatched to the location 24 hours before the storm to install our flood barriers and flood panels.

Our elevator flood panels are engineered with our patented flood seal technology to protect both the elevators and control rooms from rising floodwaters. Each panel is tailor-made to create a customized fit. They are quick and easy to install, taking only 6 minutes to set up - an advantage when you want to protect your building and business from an oncoming storm while staying operational for as long as possible.

What you can do to keep your workers and customers safe during a storm

The nerve-racking story about the Omaha elevator flood is one that we hope will never be repeated. Elevator use during a flash flood event is dangerous and can cost lives. To protect all who use your building, be sure to:

  • Pay close attention to weather reports and listen to local authorities on evacuation orders.
  • Evacuate as soon as you can, using the elevators for those who need it such as the elderly, the disabled, and children. Evacuate before it becomes an emergency and the elevators become unusable.
  • Block elevator use or shut it down if there is any water in the pit and during a severe storm. Even if there is no flood risk, the chance of a power outage during a storm or hurricane puts people at risk.
  • Avoid going near power lines that are submerged underwater.

And last but certainly not least, the best way to protect your property and keep people safe is to have the right preparations in place beforehand. Our team of flood prevention experts are ready to provide you with proven flood prevention tools, techniques, and plans. Give us a call and let us customize a flood protection system for your building.