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Stuck in An Elevator? Follow These Rules


Firefighters in Berkeley, California performed five elevator rescues resulting from a massive power outage. (Photo courtesy @JohnFowlerTV)

An unexpected power outage in Berkeley, California and the surrounding area left 38,000 people in the city without power recently. Though the outage was relatively short (people were without power for a little over an hour) it was a busy time for first responders.

While the power was out, there were five separate elevator rescues by Berkeley firefighters. One rescue occurred at City Hall, according to a report on Twitter.

We’re glad the elevator rescues were successful and no one was hurt. An unexpected elevator stop can be frightening, but there’s no reason to panic. Remember, help isn’t far away, so stay calm, follow a few simple rules and you’ll be fine.

Steps to Take When Stuck in an Elevator

  1. Take a deep breath and try to remain calm. Do not try to open the doors. You could fall down the shaft or get crushed when the elevator starts moving again. Begin pressing the elevators buttons one by one. The elevator may have gotten mixed signals. Pressing the buttons may clear up the crossed wires and get the elevator moving again.

If you determine that the elevator is not responding the best thing to do with attempt to contact help and wait it out. Efforts to escape may actually put you in more danger.

  1. If pressing the buttons fails, look for the call button or handset if you are in a commercial building. Every elevator is the United States is equipped with this system. The emergency system is usually red and should be easy to spot. Pressing the button will connect you with the building’s security or maintenance staff. They’ll come to your aid and should get you out in a reasonable amount of time.

  2. If the emergency system fails and you have cell service, use your phone to call 911. Emergency services will come and release you. Stay calm, as it may take up to 30 minutes for someone to get you out. If you are in Europe, try 211.

  3. If you are unable to call from the elevator for help, try to get the attention of people outside. Use a key, a shoe, or some other hard object, to rap firmly on the door.

  4. If you are with others, try to keep everyone calm. That is the most important thing to do when you find yourself in this situation.

-Andy Cash

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