Severe weather is the most common cause of large-scale emergency call influxes for our business. Customers may want to know what they can do to prepare their doors for adverse weather conditions. They also ask how do we respond to emergency service requests during these events. Below are the answers to those common questions on how we respond to and prioritize emergency service requests during these events.
When severe weather is forecast by the National Weather Service in our customer service territory, we activate formal readiness plans to ensure we’re prepared to respond after the storm. This may include notifying our crew of standby on call status, preparing dispatchers and customer service support staff to monitor emails and phones, as well as utilizing our 24/7 backup answering service partner.
When emergency requests are widespread responding to all customers at the same time may not be possible.
We offer free telephone tech support to customers to restore basic door operations in order to help as many customers as possible.
If telephone support was not able to resolve the issue all emergency requests will be triaged based on the following criteria:
- Availability of a second entrance to reroute pedestrian traffic.
- Presence of a vestibule for protection from elements
- Location – areas with most calls will be serviced first.
- Store Hours of Operation
- First Come First Serve – If other customers call before you, with equal urgency in safety, security, and location then calls will be serviced on first come first service basis.
While we work to keep our customer door systems in good operation throughout the year to enhance their reliability, the high winds, heavy rain, snow, or ice have the potential to cause door malfunctions. Those conditions can also pose challenges to our crews as they travel or work to make repairs.
During severe weather events we monitor the National Weather Service and the state Department of Transportation for weather and road conditions, road closures, and any other hazardous conditions. We make every effort to ensure we are prepared to respond to emergency service requests for customers as quickly and safely as possible without endangering the safety of our technicians.
- Severe weather sometimes exacerbates existing door issues. Seasonal adjustments or maintenance can help improve your doors performance during severe weather.
- Analyze normal door functions during mild weather such as wind, rain, or snow. If the door is acting up during those mild conditions you may consider placing a service call to make necessary adjustments prior to severe weather.
About a week before a forecasted severe weather event it is a good idea to check on your door and see if it may need normal service. This can help reduce expensive emergency calls.
Check the Door:
- Check the door locks by fully locking all doors.
- Check breakout functions on sliding automatic doors.
- Check safety systems by performing Daily Safety Check.
If the door fails to operate as expected with any of the above checks, place a service call so the door can be properly adjusted before the storm.
Items to Gather Beforehand:
- Have materials on hand to clean or clear snow and ice away from thresholds, sensors, bottom guides and pivots. Salt, brooms, microfiber clothes, shovels etc are good to have on hand.
- Have emergency signage, cones, or other traffic routing supplies available to direct customers to other entrances or away from unsafe doors that are malfunctioning during the weather event.
Weather can be unpredictable. It is best to have a Plan B or even a Plan C. Here are some temporary options we recommend
- You may consider shortening your business hours during the weather event, or a temporary closure until the most severe weather has passed your location. An automatic door is far less likely to be damaged when it is powered off and locked during a severe weather event.
- Prepare your staff to wait for the technician’s arrival if an emergency service call is needed.
- Analyze traffic patterns, and possible alternate means of ingress and egress from your store to direct patrons away from doors that are malfunctioning or temporarily closed for safety.
Ice can affect your automatic doors in different ways.
Snow is a common cause of simple maintenance issues that can be handled by the door owner. This includes wiping off the overhead activation sensor so snow and moisture is not accumulating and obstructing the device. Gently wipe the sensors with a clean, soft cloth periodically while snow is falling.
Snow and salt can also accumulate along the threshold of the doorway. This can become packed into the tracks, guides, and pivots of sliding and swinging doors. Clear or shovel accumulating snow away from the doorway frequently. Also use a broom to brush snow and salt away from the threshold and out from under the moving panels (while the door is powered OFF). Doing these periodically it can prevent the door from seizing up due to packed snow, ice, and salt.
Sensor technology is becoming more sophisticated to operate in less than ideal conditions, such as rain. However, depending on your sensor and the current settings, rain can often confuse the sensor and cause the door to act up. Doors holding open or ghosting (opening and closing with no one present) can sometimes be caused by both overhead sensors and safety sensors needing dried off with a soft clean cloth.
Please observe your door during the heaviest rain. It is possible for the door to malfunction temporarily during a heavy rain and then resume proper function once the heavy downpour is finished.
Wind is one of the greatest enemies of the automatic door. Automatic doors are designed to tolerate winds up to 40 mph without malfunction. But sometimes doors that are in need of adjustment or repair, and even well cared for doors, can have a wind gust that causes a malfunction.
The most common wind related issue on a door is the breakout feature of sliding doors break out due to wind. It is possible for the limit arm to break or a loose ball detent to cause the door to swing too freely. Glass stops can pop out if the door impacts a rail or sidelite too hard, which can damage glass.
Power outages with automatic doors obviously don’t mix. The doors need power to operate in automatic mode. The good news is that when power goes out an automatic door in good condition can be operated manually.
During a power outage an automatic swing door should slowly spring close back to the closed positions. An automatic sliding door will stop wherever it is at in the path of travel if it is actively moving. The sliding panels should be able to be pushed either all the way open or closed with relative ease.
Lightning strikes and power outages can often cause internal damage to the electronic components to the door such as the control box. After a power outage check your breakers, the power switch, and if your door is still dead then you will need to place a service call.