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Dru Brooks

Relax- Elevators Are Safer Than You Think


Scary Elevator Scenes in the Movies

Elevators have played a big role in many action scenes and horror movies, whether it’s a villain trapping a hero in an elevator or a cab in a skyscraper plummeting thirty stories. The idea of elevator catastrophe is one that is implanted in our collective consciousness as something to fear. However, here are some things you might not know about elevator safety mechanisms which have been implemented specifically to prevent the tragedies we fear most.

Elevator Cable Failure

Many gripping movie scenes depict an elevator suspended by a single cable, which frays & snaps, dropping the cab with all inside.

  • Reality: Any elevator using cables and a motor to work has multiple cables holding it up. Additionally, the likelihood of a cable snapping is slim. Modern cables are engineered to hold twelve times the weight of the elevator when it’s full of passengers. If you’re worried about overloading the elevator, don’t be: most elevators won’t close their doors or move if the weight limit is exceeded.

Elevator Free Fall

Not all elevators rely on cables to function. One common misconception is that the elevator can plummet several floors or down the whole shaft.

  • Reality: All modern elevators are equipped with speed governors. When the elevator exceeds a certain speed, an emergency brake kicks in to stop its movement. Even if a loss of power were to occur, the elevator would make a controlled stop, not fall to the bottom of the shaft.

No Thirteenth Floor

Based on recent polling, estimates are that 85% of US buildings with elevators do not have a designated 13th floor. Why? Some explanations have suggested that government buildings have private access to top-secret departments on the 13th floor, or hotels have an unlucky floor where guests have met an untimley demise, the floor is haunted or something even more sinister is going on.  

  • Reality: For many people, the number 13 is considered unlucky and building owners will sometimes purposefully omit a floor numbered 13. Even building owners who are not themselves superstitious realize that the desirability of units on the 13th floor might be compromised because of superstitious tenants, or commercial tenants who worry about losing superstitious customers. 

Suffocation in an Elevator

People worry that if an elevator cab is trapped between floors, those inside will have a limited oxygen supply and suffocate if trapped too long.

  • Reality: You may not know that elevators are specifically designed not to be airtight. There’s a minimum requirement that an elevator cab’s floor space must be at least 2% vents, and many elevators are also air conditioned or heated, meaning anyone inside has a constant supply of air. 

Trapped in the Elevator Doors

One of the biggest fears shared by the public is getting crushed by the elevator doors when they close or being caught when the elevator starts to move between floors. 

  • Reality: All modern elevators are required to have several fail-safe mechanisms in place to prevent elevator doors from closing while people enter and exit the cab. Most elevators have an infrared curtain across the entryway completing a digital circuit, informing the elevator controller not to activate unless the circuit is complete. This also locks the elevator from moving between floors while the doors are open. As of January 1st, 2020, a certified DLM (Door Lock Monitoring) systems is required by law on all elevators in NYC to further reduce the chance of an elevator moving before the elevator doors completely close.

Although a neglected elevator can still be very dangerous, Liberty Elevator Corporation is here to help ease your fears, as well as educate you on how the frequency of these dangers has been greatly reduced with standardized safety regulations & modern technology. To be sure the elevator is safe, your best course of action is to find a reliable elevator provider to inspect and maintain all of your vertical transportation equipment. 

Liberty Elevator Debunks Your Elevator Fears

As one of the top elevator companies in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida, Liberty Elevator understands that our customers have unique needs and offers our clients the freedom to choose. Whether choosing a customized elevator maintenance program, installing nonproprietary equipment, or providing a flexible agreement, Liberty Elevator offers knowledgeable recommendations for various models and vintages of elevator equipment.

If there is something strange in your elevator. Who you going to call?  


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