The main fire safety tip you want to keep in mind is to always take the stairs in the event of a fire or other emergency situation that could compromise or cause a disruption to electrical services. This are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that a fire can short circuit the call button and prompt the elevator car to come to a halt at the floor being affected – or worse, between floors. In addition, an elevator shaft acts like a natural chimney during a fire, quickly filling with smoke. To avoid entrapment and smoke inhalation, it’s imperative to heed this main safety tip.
Below are some additional safety tips to keep in mind when it comes to fire.
- If you are the building owner and you detect a fire or smoke, activate your elevators’ fire service modes. This can happen automatically or by using a key switch on the ground floor. This will cause the elevator cab to return to the ground floor, or an alternate floor if the ground floor is the one that is smoke or fire filled. Once at the recall floor, the elevator doors will open.
- If you are a building owner, be sure to get all elevators and interior sprinkler systems inspected regularly.
- Never smoke or use anything that could produce fire while using an elevator.
- If you are a passenger stuck in a cab when a fire emergency stops all cars, remain calm, press the emergency button or call for help. Wait for firefighters to arrive and rescue you. Do not attempt to pry open doors or open the escape hatch.
- If the fire alarm sounds, proceed in an orderly manner out of the building via the stairs, taking all personal belongings with you, such as ID, keys, purses and wallets. Put on coats and sweaters as necessary. Follow instructions as to where to gather safely outside. Do not re-enter the building for any reason.
- If you are wheel chair bound, inquire about the presence of evacuation elevators, which must meet tougher code requirements and must be manually operated by a firefighter. In existing buildings without these specially designated elevators, freight elevators can be used. You will likely be told about the presence of evacuation elevators during your orientation or regular staff safety meetings.
As an adjunct to the above-mentioned caution that one should never take the elevator in a fire, the thinking on this matter has been shifting. Post September 11th, new evacuation strategies are being explored, particularly when it comes to super high rises like those seen in the World Trade Center. In cases of full building evacuation where time is of the essence, the use of an emergency elevator system may be encouraged.
Evacuation through a stairwell in a super high rise can take an hour or more. An emergency elevator can evacuate an entire building in less than half that time. While these systems and practices are still being explored, they show that consideration of fire safety and how it relates to your elevators is crucial.
If you require a repair on your elevator or want more information on fire safety tips, contact Mowrey Elevator at 800-441-4449.