During torrential rains in the Summer of 2018, two men became trapped inside an elevator after the elevator pit flooded in a parking garage in Toronto. They were rescued but the incident raises the question of how to better monitor the water level in elevator pits. A new sump pump sensor could be the answer.
Toronto was experiencing a tremendous rain storm, accumulating up to 50 millimeters of rain in some areas in just one hour. The two men were headed to the basement parking garage when the water started coming in, immobilizing the elevator and trapping them both.
Thankfully, they were able to stand on the elevator handrail, remove a ceiling panel and make a 911 call. Within a couple of minutes, two of Toronto’s finest responded and rescued the occupants from the elevator, likely saving their lives.
In all, there was seven feet of water that had accumulated in the basement and filled up the pit underneath the elevator. A dangerous and life threatening flood event which is becoming an all too common issue in commercial buildings.
Elevator pits are equipped with sump pits and pumps, much like the ones we have in our homes. When water levels start to rise in the pit, the pump is activated to lower the water to normal levels.
In cases of severe storms, the water pumped out of an elevator pit may not have anywhere to go; sudden and intense rail fall can fill storm drains and sewers to their limit, backing up pits and flooding property, often with no warning.
So what can we do to prevent these types of life threatening events in the future?
Alert Labs is launching Sumpie, the latest in its suite of water sensor products. It’s the world’s first predictive smart sump pump sensor, able to detect water levels, power outages, and sump pump health.
The predictive monitoring and proactive notifications of the sump pump play a vital role in eliminating losses in pit environments. Unlike water pipes that can be shut off simply by way of the main water line, underground water has no “shut off” switch; should the sewer system be full or if the sump pump fails, there no way to stop the water from entering the property.
Sump pump failure is also a growing concern for property owners and insurance carriers. Predictive notifications on the pumps health are sent prior to failure, providing the opportunity to ensure the pump is working at optimal efficiency and preventing water losses.
Alert Labs Sumpie device would have sent notifications as the water was rising past the normal highpoint level in the example above, providing the property owner early notification of what can be a life and death situation.
The materials and cost to repair water damage to a property are extensive. If not repaired properly, mold can accumulate quickly, making the area a health hazard and increasing overall repair costs. Commercial Insurance water loss deductibles start at $2500, and the final bill to the Insurance Carrier can ebe in the millions.
Sumpie costs just $395 and installs in seconds. The Alert Labs mobile app provides a dashboard with live updates, sump pump health, power outages, mechanical failure and overflow warnings.
Monitoring elevator pits for dangerously high water levels has never been easier. Property and facility managers should take note.
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