Creating a Fire Safety Plan

If you own or manage a building with elevators in it, it’s your responsibility to create and adhere to a comprehensive fire safety plan. This keeps everyone in the building – tenants, guests, clients, and customers – safe. It’s also a legal issue, as you need to adhere to all local fire safety codes.

Fire Safety Tips for Elevators

Let’s go over some elevator fire safety bullet points you should be including in your plan.

Take the Stairs

This is a big one. Most people know they shouldn’t use the elevator when there’s a fire, but you must reinforce this. Panic can make people do rash things. In the event of a fire or other emergency that causes a disruption to electrical services, everyone should take the stairs.

Not only can a fire short circuit the call button and cause the elevator car to stop wherever it’s at (including between floors), but an elevator shaft also acts as a natural chimney in a fire and can rapidly fill with smoke. Taking the stairs will prevent elevator entrapment and smoke inhalation.

Fire Service Modes

As the building owner or manager, if you detect fire or smoke, you should immediately activate the elevators’ fire service modes. Sometimes this happens automatically, while other times you have to use the key switch on the ground floor. When you do this, the elevator cab is prompted to return to the ground floor, or any safe floor of your choosing that hasn’t been affected by fire or smoke. The doors will open when the cab arrives at the recall floor.


Schedule annual elevator and sprinkler system inspections. Usually this is on the anniversary day of the unit’s installation. Larger elevators may need to be inspected twice a year.

No Smoking

While it may seem like an obvious principal at this time in life, post no smoking signs in elevators that instruct people not to smoke or do anything else to produce fire. This is not only. A great reminder, but also a smart way to avoid any legal loopholes should something happen.

Passenger Instructions

Post instructions for passengers on what to do in the event of a fire or other emergency. Basically, if they are stuck in one of the cabs during a fire emergency, they should remain calm and press the emergency button. They can also call for help on the cab phone, if there is one, or use their own smart phone. They should never attempt to climb out of the hatch or pry open the doors. Rather, it’s safest to wait for firefighters to perform a rescue.

In the event the fire alarm goes off, they should proceed out of the building in an orderly manner, using the stairs. They should take all personal belongings with them if possible, including purses, wallets, keys and IDs. Wear coats if necessary. You should also post instructions well beforehand on where to gather once outside. Instruct your employees and customers not to re-enter the building at any time until the fire department has cleared the scene.

For those who are in a wheelchair, explore the use of evacuation elevators. These elevators must meet more stringent code requirements and are manually operated by a qualified firefighter. Freight elevators may be used if there are no evacuation elevators on site. Tell your employees about the presence of any evacuation elevators during regular staff safety meetings and orientation programs.  

Contact Mowrey Elevator

If you need a repair to ensure your unit is up to code, or you want more tips to incorporate in your fire safety plan, contact Mowrey Elevator at 800-441-4449.