Elevator phones..always broken?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Scott Strang, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

    May 28, 1999
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    Anyone ever been stuck on an elevator? And it seems the phones in them are always broken. Most don't seem to have a way out of them if you are stuck. Spam in a can. (Sorry Mr. Yeager)

    By now most are probably aware of the Houston elevator incident which was fatal. A few years ago a woman was chopped, literally, in two by an elevator in the town in which I live.
  2. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

    Oct 31, 1997
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    Yikes. I was once stuck in the work elevator, but luckily the building is pretty new, and somone picked up the phone right away and talked with me, trying to keep me calm. I was calm, but I guess this person was trained to treat people who might have claustrophobia. Eventually the elevator started again before the repair people got there so I told the guy on the phone that the elevator went up to the proper floor and now the doors were open and I was stepping out, so the repair people shouldn't freak out to find no one in the elevator...
  3. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

    Feb 29, 2000
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    Carlo one word:

  4. Cary_H

    Cary_H Second Unit

    Jun 7, 2003
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    Having these phones not working is a huge liability for managers/owners of buildings.
    It is important that staff given the responsibility of monitoring them are familiar with how they work and always make sure they are up and running.
    In my last building all the elevator phones were on a "party" line. That is, all it took was for one of them to be off the hook to disable them. Worse still, all the elevator phones for all our numerous buildings rang through on a SINGLE line. All our elevator phones would be rendered useless if just one remained off hook in any one building and the "alarm" was ignored.
    We took precautions by velco strapping all our handsets so they couldn't be jarred off-hook and always established verbal contact with trapped occupants to assure them help was on it's way. In addition, we mounted laminate signs adjacent each phoneset with explicit instructions of things that someone entrapped could try to get the elevator running again. The sign also had the building address, cab number, and another number to call if they had a cellphone in their possession and it saw a signal from inside the elevator car. Often people get entrapped and have no idea what building they are in, and our people on the other end get no indication whatsoever which building of any number of buildings the call is originating from. We also knew the phone number of the party line so we could make a call to the elevators, as long as all the handsets were hung back up.
    Our worse nightmare was someone being stuck on a Friday and not being discovered until Monday.

    One misconception is that air supply can be depleted and spell the demise of the occupants. Urban myth. The cars are not airtight.
    As for the incident of a woman getting cut in two. Well, I'm not familiar with the circumstances around this event, but it would be sheer folly to exit a car with it's doors open and not levelled at a floor without assurance that it couldn't move unexpectedly.
    Liability-wise...it's important from our side to do all we can do to cover our butts when these events happen. OTOH, I've always believed that those with claustrophobia ought to take a real hard look at whether or not they even use elevators if entrapment is such a traumatic experience for them.
  5. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    I work on the elevators as part of my job of building maintenance, the phones in all of our passenger elevators work, but the all dial to one office wish is theoretically manned 24 hours but if the person steps away from the desk to do one of their many duties, the call will go to voice mail and the one elevator has no provision to "hang up" and call again, it is a self dialing one button speaker phone
    the freight elevators have no phone in them, just an alarm button that rings a bell, since the get hit accidently all the time, it takes at least 15 minutes for someone to decide to call us when it is ringing

    passenger elevators are extremely safe and reliable, the controls are so interconnected that they generally will not try to move if anything is wrong, the one draw back is that because of safety rules, the doors are designed so that they can not be pulled open if the car is supposed to be moving, even if it is stationary

    you have a better chance of winning the power ball lottery than getting seriously hurt in an elevator
  6. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

    Jan 5, 1999
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    I have to second what Eric said. I was Director of Security for a complex of high rise office buildlings in KCMO. With all the elevators on site, we would average an "entrapment" every week. I trained my dispatch personnel how to talk with the occupant to reassure them. We had a contract with the elevator company, so, during the day, there was always someone on site to get the elevator working. I even replaced the telephone system (which was quite antiquated, with all 25 elevators ringing to one line) with intercoms which were all independent.

    Elevators stop running normally due to a safety override which stops the elevator. Rarely do they "break". Most of the time, it is a small change in the normal parameter of the elevator operations which causes the computer to shut down the elevator until the problem can be assesed. Most of the time, the elevator restarts normally once the error is investigated.

    And one big thing . . . NEVER TRY TO EXIT A TRAPPED ELEVATOR ON YOUR OWN!!!! Wait for the repairman. You will not suffocate, the elevator is not going to fall (almost impossible for a modern elevator to fall). And often there is no "escape hatch" on the roof. Besides, where are you going to go?

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