During these times of the coronavirus pandemic, the question has come up how elevators and escalators can become more sterile and germ-free in order to help prevent the spread of the virus, particularly as viruses and bacteria can be transferred through hand contact with elevator buttons or escalator handrails.
There are three aspects that can help: cleaning surfaces regularly, touchless technology, and sanitation solutions using for instance antimicrobials.
Cleaning surfaces regularly
Regularly cleaning high-contact surfaces such as elevator buttons is one of the easiest ways to help prevent the spread of the virus. Some steps to follow include using air disinfectant inside elevators and wiping buttons, doors, walls, and handrails with disinfectant once every hour.
And there are some tips for passengers, including keeping your distance to others (which may simply mean waiting for the next available elevator so you can ride in isolation), avoid touching buttons, for instance by using a tissues or your elbow, and don’t put anything on the floor if possible. Most importantly, clean hands protect against infection.
Secondly, technology such as touchless interfaces can help people avoid touching high-contact surfaces.
Schindler has for instance developed its so called PORT Technology, which includes a transit management solution that also provides destination control and remote operation of elevators via a card or a mobile phone app. Such a touchless interface prevents that passengers have to press buttons to call or operate an elevator.
Antimicrobials & UV
Lastly, we can promote better hygiene through handrail sanitation solutions such as for instance inbuilt antimicrobials that kill microorganisms or stop their growth.
One such example is Schindler CleanRail, an antimicrobial escalator handrail that protects passengers through preventing the accelerated growth of bacteria. Subway stations, airports, and hospitals are just a few examples of public infrastructure where antimicrobial handrails can find practical application.
Another example is using Ultra UV devices that use germicidal UVC light to irradiate the handrails at a short distance. This directly damages the genetic materials of bacteria and viruses, preventing their rapid spread. Here at Schindler, we can for instance install the device inside the escalator or moving walk as a practical solution to prevent the rapid spread of bacteria and viruses.
The above are ways to help prevent the spread of the virus when using elevators and escalators. The best protection however remains cleaning your hands regularly. Wash your hands with soap and water, and dry them thoroughly. Use alcohol-based hand rub if you don’t have immediate access to soap and water.