Prior to initiating elevator rescue procedures, dispatch and on scene information should be carefully evaluated. When an alarm is received, knowledge of the type and height of occupancies in the geographical area of dispatch will indicate the probable type of elevator (hydraulic or traction), applications (industrial-commercial, apartments, multi-story office buildings, high rise, etc.), and the time of day (indicator of the potential of trapped victims).

On scene information should consist of the following minimum considerations:

  • Existance of inoperative elevator.
  • Existance of trapped passengers and their condition.
  • Elevator repair personnel has been notified, amd their estimated arrival time.
  • Location of the inoperative elevator (between floors).
  • Type of elevator (hydraulic or traction).
  • Location of the elevator machinery room.
  • General guidelines for rescue to be considered once repair personnel has arrived.
  • Various operations that can be utilized to remove trapped passengers from an inoperative elevator.
  • Use of a particular operation should be based on the needs and conditions of each incident and the expertise of personnel.

Rescue procedures

The rescuing procedures include the following:

  • Moving an elevator car.
  • Adjacent car rescues.
  • Forcing doors.
  • Breaching elevator shaft.

General guidelines for rescue

When it has been determined there is an inoperative elevator with trapped occupants, the following considerations should be initially implemented:

  • Position personnel equipped with portable radios at the following locations:
    • Elevator equipment room (access to main power switches and elevator equipment).
    • Floor where elevator is inoperable (elevator rescue procedures will be coordinated from this location)
  • Establish voice contact with the trapped elevator passengers.
  • Determine if trapped passengers are in need of medical assistance, or if conditions are stable. Do not rescue passengers using forcible entry methods unless they are in need of immediate medical attention. Forcible entry methods can be dangerous to passengers and fire service personnel, and will cause damage to an elevator.
  • If conditions are stable, inform the passengers they are safe and will be removed from the inoperative elevator in a short period of time. It is also advantageous to keep trapped passengers informed of operations that are being utilized to remove them.

·*Have the trapped passengers verify the status of the Emergency Stop Button. Remember that if an elevator is stalled due to a malfunction, (one that can be quickly corrected, i.e. overheated relay, loss of power from an activated main switch, etc.), it is necessary for the Emergency Stop Button to be activated before power will be returned to an inoperative elevator, (placed in the normal/run position.

  • Instruct the passengers to push the Door Open Button (if it is equipped).
  • If the elevator car is within a few inches of the landing floor, and the power is off in the equipment room, instruct the passengers to try to manually open the car door. This may require some effort as the car door operates the hoistway door through a clutch mechanism. Moving the car door will release the latch on the hoistway door and allow the door to be opened.
  • Personnel in the equipment room should: Check the electrical circuits (main switch, fuses, etc.) to verify if power is on or off to the elevator. Occasionally, circuits are tripped due to overheating and can be safely reset.
  • If there is power to the elevator, turn the power off for at least 30 seconds and then back on again. This can reactivate the elevator by allowing relays to reset at least 30 seconds is necessary to clear any previous programming in the elevator computer). If the elevator car is within a few inches of the landing, the door may be opened.
  • If there is a Door Open Button in the elevator, instruct the passengers to again push this button and the doors may open.

·*If an elevator is equipped with a recall system, a key can be used to recall the elevator to the ground floor and open its doors. If the elevator returns to the ground floor but does not open its doors, instruct the passengers to push the Door Open Button (if so equipped).


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