Elevators in the United States transport more than 18 billion passengers each year, reports ConsumerWatch.com; so, it is not unsurprising that these machines occasionally experience technical difficulties. Whether due to poor maintenance, faulty construction, or even power outages, being stuck in an elevator can be a terrifying experience. That is why the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. wants to share a few safety tips on what to do if you are stuck in an elevator.
What to Do If Stuck in an Elevator
First things first, remain calm. Although it is only natural to panic during such an emergency, your best bet to get out of the elevator safe and sound is to take a few deep breaths and proceed rationally. Take some time to get your emotions under control and then proceed with the following actions.
The next thing you should do if you are stuck in an elevator is press the door open button. While this seems far too simple, in some cases, the elevator is fine, the doors might just be jammed. Press and hold the door open button for about five seconds to try to unjam the doors. If the doors still do not open or if the elevator is not properly lined up with a floor, proceed to the next step.
After checking the doors, press the emergency button for help. In some elevators, there is a phone you can use to actually call for help. Others simply have an alarm button that will notify the building’s security, maintenance, or front desk. If you are not certain which button is the alarm, look for a button with the image of a bell or telephone on it. Follow all instructions posted in the elevator and follow the advice of anyone you speak with on the phone.
If you have cell phone service, try using your phone to call 911. Although you may have already pressed the elevator’s alarm button, it is generally a good idea to ask for help from 911, too. This way, you know for a fact that help is on the way.
If you are unable to signal for help through the elevator’s alarm button and your cell phone does not get any service in the elevator, make noise, such as pounding on the elevator doors. If the elevator is close to the waiting area, other people in the building may hear you and fetch help.
Most importantly, always be prepared to wait. Even after you have alerted the authorities of your situation, it could take hours before you are finally free from the elevator.
Never attempt to leave a stuck elevator on your own. Although most elevators do have escape hatches in the ceiling, most of them are locked from the outside. Attempting escape without the help of an emergency responder is the a common way that people stuck in elevators get injured.
If you can, use your phone to surf the internet or read an e-book. If possible, take a nap or strike up a conversation with the other people in the elevator.