What to Do If You Get Stuck in an Elevator

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:13
Everything you need to know in an elevator emergency We'll tell you up front that a stuck elevator happens more often in the movies than in real life, and when it does, it's very rarely any cause for concern. On the off chance your lift...
Table of contents

We’ll tell you up front that a stuck elevator happens more often in the movies than in real life, and when it does, it’s very rarely any cause for concern. On the off chance your lift does stall, there are a few key things you can do to get out quickly, calmly, and safely. We’ll tell you everything you need to know and do, as well as what not to do, so that your time in the elevator is nothing more than a passing inconvenience as you go about your day.

Things You Should Know

  • If an elevator is stuck, find and press the emergency call button. Hold it for 2-3 seconds several times. This button is often red with an icon of a bell or phone.
  • Contact emergency services on your phone, if you’re able. If you can’t, shout periodically for aid or bang on the elevator walls.
  • Wait at the back of the elevator, away from the doors, for help. Remain calm, and don’t attempt to pry open the doors or “unstick” the elevator by jumping.
Section 1 of 3:

What to Do

  1. Step 1 Remain calm and practice deep breathing.
    The best thing you can do for yourself if you’re ever stuck in an elevator is to remain calm and keep a level head, which will help you communicate when help comes. It's a sticky situation, but incredibly few people actually die in elevators.[1] What’s more, modern elevators are equipped with a number of fail-safes to prevent a free fall or other serious problems beyond stalling.[2]
    • If you do find yourself panicking, interrupt the episode by performing deep breathing exercises. Breath in and out as deeply, slowly, and gently as you can manage.[3] Help is on the way.
  2. Step 2 Find a light source if the elevator is dark.
    A light source helps you identify emergency buttons and get your bearings in the event that the elevator lights or building power goes out. If you don’t have a flashlight, use your phone's camera light or the light from its screen to take stock of your surroundings, but try not to use it when you don’t need it to conserve its battery.[4]
    • Don’t panic if you don’t have a light source—it’s not absolutely necessary to get out of the elevator.
  3. Step 3 Press the elevator’s emergency alarm, phone, or intercom button.
    Every elevator has a button that either sends an emergency signal or puts you in touch with a technician, emergency services, or another authority. These are often red with icons of bells, alarms, or telephones. Find this button on the elevator’s panel near the door, hold it for 2-3 seconds several times, and wait for an indication that your message has been received.[5]
    • Note that even if you don’t receive confirmation that your message was sent, it may still have been received by emergency services.
    • These buttons also often send your exact location, including your building and specific elevator, to emergency services.
    • If you cannot see the buttons, systematically press each button one by one to ensure that you press the emergency call button in the process.
  4. Step 4 Press the “Door open” button to create a possible escape route.
    If the elevator stopped close to a floor landing, the door may open, creating a possible way out. If it does, step out of the elevator carefully and quickly, making sure you’re not trailing any loose clothing or straps.[6] Pressing the “Door open,” “Door close,” or the button of a floor beneath you may unstick the elevator.[7] If it does, exit quickly when it reaches a safe floor and immediately inform emergency services.
    • Important: If getting out would mean climbing up or down onto the landing, or performing anything more than a quick hop off the elevator, stay put and wait for help. The elevator may unexpectedly begin to move again.
  5. Step 5 Call for help on your phone, verbally, or through other means.
    If your phone has service and power, call emergency services and explain your situation. Also, shout for help—someone in the building may hear you and come to your aid. You might also bang on the elevator wall with your hands or a shoe, but only do this if your prior calls for help haven’t been answered.[8]
    • If you have an internet or WiFi connection, message or email several contacts and inform them of your situation. They may be able to contact emergency services if you’re unable to yourself.
    • Note that shouting may result in excess panic, so before you do, take a deep breath and inform other passengers of your intent.
  6. Step 6 Wait at the back of the elevator, away from the doors.
    After contacting emergency services, stand toward the back of the elevator, well away from the doors, and wait for help to arrive.[9] This ensures that you’re clear of harm if the fire department or other authorities use force to open the elevator from the outside.
    • Feel free to stand or sit, whichever is most comfortable for you.
  7. Step 7 Lay on your back on the floor if the elevator does fall.
    In the (very) rare event that the elevator does enter free fall, it’s best to lie flat on your back on the floor, using your hands and any railing to secure yourself there.[10] This orients your body perpendicular to the force of impact and evenly distributes that force, better protecting you from harm.[11]
    • Also, use your arms to cover your head, if possible, to guard against falling debris.
    • All that said, we want to reiterate that a falling elevator is almost unheard of in modern times and is more of an exciting Hollywood idea than a reality.
  8. Advertisement
Section 2 of 3:

What Not to Do

  1. Step 1 Don't attempt to escape the elevator without assistance.
    If the elevator is sealed, don’t attempt to escape it through the ceiling, floor, or other means.[12] Any method of escape apart from assistance from emergency service or other authorities is far more dangerous than simply waiting for help.
  2. Step 2 Don’t attempt to pry the elevator doors open.
    If the elevator doors are shut, and won’t open with the use of buttons, do not attempt to pry them open.[13] This can further damage the elevator and worsen the situation. You’re also unlikely to open the doors manually, and may overexert yourself.
  3. Step 3 Avoid jumping up and down within the elevator.
    Jumping inside the elevator isn’t likely to make it work again, and in fact can make the problem worse.[14] Stand or sit calmly toward the back of the elevator, away from the doors, and wait for help to arrive.
    • Feel free to do some stretches if you’re feeling antsy or restless, but be considerate of other passengers and avoid any sudden or dramatic movements.
  4. Advertisement
Section 3 of 3:

How long can you be stuck in an elevator?

  1. In most cases, the elevator door will be open within several minutes.
    [15] Especially in busy buildings, other people will notice the malfunction and contact maintenance or emergency services quickly. Many modern elevators also have self-correction features that can identify and fix any detected bugs that cause the doors or elevator to stall.
    • However, depending on your area and the availability of maintenance and emergency crews, it's possible to spend 30 minutes to several hours in the elevator.
    • Note that it’s impossible to run out of oxygen in an elevator. Though it may take some hours for aid to get you out, you’ll be able to breathe fine the entire time.[16]


  • In the event of a fire, always opt for the stairs rather than an elevator.[19]
    Helpful 1 Not Helpful 1

Total notes of this article: 0 in 0 rating

Click on stars to rate this article