What to do if: elevator entrapment

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Welcome to The Record Delta’s new series of What to do if? In this series, we will break down details of what you should do if met confronted with an unfortunate situation. This week, after a call for help, the article will explore what to do when stuck in an elevator.

For many, getting into an elevator is just a part of daily life. Patrons get in and push the button and go on their way. However, it can turn into nerve-racking experience if anyone happens to get stuck in one. While it is a rare occurrence, it is important to know what to do if such a thing happens.

Many elevator companies and first responders concur that the first step is to remain calm. Liberty Elevator Corporation (LEC) advised, “Depending on the number of people in the elevator, it will begin to get warm if everyone is breathing heavily in a state of panic, only increasing discomfort and nervousness. Do your best to remain calm and try to keep the others in the elevator calm.”

The next step is to push the emergency button. Keystone Elevator and Modernization Service said, “Every elevator has an “emergency” or “alarm” button. When the elevator gets stuck, push that button first. It will notify someone who can then handle the situation from there. If there is anything the property manager can do, he or she can get it done now that they are aware. If it requires emergency personnel, they can be notified.”

Other recommendations include staying away from the doors. It is important to stay away from the doors while maintenance and/or emergency crews work to get them open. It is also advised to never try to pry open the doors yourself. LEC said, ‘If the elevator starts to move while the doors are open, people are prone to falling out of the car, and face increased danger.”

If the lights are also out, try to find a light source such as from your cell phone or from a keychain light. It is also advised to then use the light source to find the elevator buttons and to count how many individuals are in the elevator. If you have performed the above steps and have not received any response or help, then it is appropriate to yell for help or to bang a shoe or other object on door to alert others in the building that you need assistance.

Property owners are reminded to keep elevators updated and perform routine maintenance as required. “According to KJA Consultants, if you’re a working professional who uses an elevator every day, you’ve got about a 1 in 5,000 chance of getting stuck each month. If you ride an elevator every workday for 25 years, your chances are 1 in 17,” as noted by apartmentsearch.com. Elevator entrapment can be scary but following the steps above can assure you are rescued in a safe and timely manner.

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