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What to do if you are trapped in an elevator

Elevators are used and relied upon by millions of people all over the world, every second of the day. They are found in every type of building, from apartment blocks to offices, shopping malls to doctors’ clinics, as a way of moving between stories without having to use the staircase. Though you probably use the elevator without a second thought, there is always the fear of what would happen should a breakdown occur that traps you inside one. To help you prepare in the case of such an eventuality, here is what to do if you are trapped in an elevator.

Carry out regular elevator maintenance

Before considering what to do if an elevator breaks down, it’s important to remember that prevention is the best solution to elevator maintenance issues: put simply, if your elevator is regularly maintained, potential problems will be dealt with before they multiply and result in a breakdown mid-service. An elevator inspection service, such as ATIS Elevator, will maintain your elevator by regularly running diagnostic tests and managing your elevator system, ensuring that problems and identified and dealt with early on. This will decrease the instances of costly and inconvenient elevator downtime, and reduce the likelihood of becoming trapped in one. However, if a breakdown does occur, here are some tips.

Stay calm

If the worst happens and you do become trapped in a non-functioning elevator, it can be all too easy to panic. You might be claustrophobic and despise the idea of being trapped in a small space, which is made all the worse by the usual dingy functional steel interior of most elevators. However, it is important that you remain as calm as possible so that you don’t jeopardize your own safety. If you are trapped with other people who are on the verge of panicking, try to bring them down by engaging in calming techniques such as breathing exercises. Once everyone is in a calm mindset, you can make better decisions rather than panicked ones that may ultimately put your lives at risk.

Do not try to prise the doors open 

You may have seen it in films when the character prises the doors of a stuck elevator open so that they can continue with their day; however, this should be avoided in real life. If the elevator has come to a stop high above ground, you risk falling out of the door several painful—and potentially fatal—stories to the ground. Prising open the doors could set off a mechanism that starts the elevator moving again, which could put you in danger of being crushed as the elevator continues its journey. 

Alert people

You can rest assured that there are many ways that you can alert people to your predicament—only on very rare occasions are people trapped in elevators for several days. Use the emergency phone or emergency call button that is located in most elevators. This will connect you to the building’s security or elevator company, who will then set out to rescue you. Alternatively, try to connect people on the outside using your own cell phone if you have access to a signal.

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