Home elevators are very safe accessibility devices, but it’s important to follow all rules of usage and understand the safety features. If you regularly use your home elevator, there is a small chance that you could experience technical issues. Knowing what action to take can help you get out of the situation.
Avoid getting stuck inside your elevator with the following tips.
Elevator Safety Features
The below safety features make your home elevator easier to use and prevent accidents from becoming emergencies:
1. The ¾” X 4″ Rule for Elevator Landings
This safety governing code specifically for home elevators at a private residence states that only ¾ of an inch of extra space is permitted between the closed hoistway door and the edge of the landing’s threshold. In addition to this space restriction, the maximum distance allowed between the closed hoistway door and the car gate is only four inches. The ¾” X 4″ Rule is in place to ensure that pets and small children are able to safely cross between the closed door and the gate.
2. The Alarm System or Emergency Phone
Your elevator probably comes with an alarm bell and phone, which you can usually find on the wall panel with the other buttons. These features should be bright red and easily accessible. When you use the phone, you can place a call to your emergency technicians. After you contact either your elevator company or the alarm personnel through the help phone, they can deploy a technician to help you.
3. The Door Open Button
If the elevator stalls near the landing, you might be able to get the door open if you push this button on your panel. If you attempt to step out of the elevator onto an uneven surface, make sure there is enough room. This button is designed to work only when the door is close to the landing, so if someone pushes it during transit, nothing will happen.
Factors that Could Cause an Elevator to Get Stuck
Below are factors that might influence your elevator’s functionality:
1. Using an Inexperienced Elevator Contractor
Although home elevator installation can be an expensive service, avoid hiring a contractor who does cheap work. You want to make elevator safety a high priority. Invest in a quality installation service with years of experience so your home elevator system will last.
2. Ignoring the Elevator’s Need for Repairs
Putting off repairs is usually what causes an elevator to get stuck. If you notice that your elevator is functioning poorly or has an issue, call for a service visit as soon as possible. When you hear unusual squealing noises, feel jerky movements or notice the elevator moving very slowly, stop using the device until a technician can examine it.
Loud squeaking noises could mean that you have a loose or broken cable, pully or another failing mechanism in your elevator. Another sign that repairs are needed is the elevator looking misaligned with the floor when the door opens. The repair technician can correct these problems to ensure the elevator keeps working properly.
3. Avoiding Regular Maintenance
You need to hire a technician to fix the elevator when you notice a repair may be needed, but you should also get routine maintenance. Ask your elevator installation company or contractor about how often you should conduct maintenance on your elevator. You should get regular maintenance generally about once annually.
4. A Lack of Understanding of the Emergency Features
Home elevators are required to have emergency features in case the device does become disabled. Understanding how these features work can help you get assistance quickly and avoid being stuck for hours. The most common feature is an emergency phone that you can use to call for help.
5. Ignoring Weight Restrictions
All elevators have a weight requirement, and you should ask about the maximum before having yours installed. Some elevators are large enough to transport multiple people at once or to lift heavy furniture. Other elevators should only be used to lift a single person, including the weight of a wheelchair.
Although a commercial elevator that you would ride in a hotel can typically hold several thousand pounds, a home elevator is usually a smaller device with a much lower weight limit. If you frequently overload your elevator, it may start to have issues that will lead to repairs.
5. Entering or Exiting Carelessly
Make sure every member of your household rides your elevator carefully and with respect. Running into and out of the elevator, jumping inside the cart or other careless behaviors can lead to accidents. Hold onto the elevator’s handrail as you move between floors, and wait for the doors to open all the way before you enter or exit.
Home Elevator FAQ
Below are frequently asked questions about what to do if you find yourself stuck inside a home elevator.
Should You Climb Out of a Stuck Elevator?
If you get stuck in an elevator, avoid trying to climb or crawl out. Waiting for emergency personnel is the best action you can take if you get stuck in an elevator. Climbing out might be dangerous, and attempting it can cause you to panic.
Can You Run Out of Air if You’re Stuck in an Elevator?
The elevator is supplied with air from the outside, so you will always have enough air when using it. If you become stuck in your home elevator, you can wait patiently for the technicians to arrive with plenty of oxygen around you. However, a panic response to becoming trapped inside your elevator can make you feel like you need more air. Try to control your breathing, and keep your heart rate down by staying calm.
Do Elevators Have Emergency Exits?
If you see a panel in the ceiling of your elevator, this is meant for technicians only. Avoid trying to exit the elevator if you become stuck. Instead, wait for help to arrive.
Should You Call 911 if You’re Stuck in the Elevator?
If you have your cell phone when you get stuck and are facing a medical emergency, call 911. Otherwise, use the emergency phone inside the elevator. The emergency services team you can contact from inside your elevator expects to handle your specific situation.
How Long Can You Be Stuck in an Elevator?
Emergency personnel will arrive at your location to help get you out of the elevator. They will respond as quickly as they are able to, but depending on where you live, you might have to wait for up to two hours.
How Likely Is It to Get Stuck in an Elevator?
Although it is possible to get stuck in an elevator, the chance of this happening is very low. If the elevator stalls, this likely means the device needs to be repaired.