Being trapped in an elevator is fortunately quite uncommon. However, if you are unlucky enough to have this experience, it can be quite stressful. Mechanical malfunctions, power outages, and human errors can cause an elevator to come to a stop between floors. To secure the most favorable outcome to your situation, you need to remain calm and follow a few simple steps.  In this article, we discuss how to safely get through an elevator entrapment as smoothly as possible.

What Should You Do Once You Realize You’re Trapped?

You can be forgiven for indulging in a moment of panic when you first realize you’ve been trapped in an elevator. However, you need to stay calm and in control of the situation. If you give in to panic, it will be harder to take stock of the situation, make rational decisions, and seek assistance. Begin by taking a deep breath and do your best to remain calm. Take a few seconds to thoroughly evaluate the situation. Look for any visible signs of trouble, such as smoke, fire, or malfunctioning elevator controls. If there is anyone else in the elevator, do your best to reassure them. Calmly communicate with the elevator’s other occupants, share updates as they develop, and do your best to keep everyone calm

Calling for Help

Most elevators have an emergency call button or phone. You’ll find the emergency button near the elevator door panel. Press the button firmly and wait to be connected to an emergency service operator. If the elevator you’re stuck in has an intercom system, describe the situation calmly and clearly. Explain what building you are in, what floor number the elevator is stuck on, and how many people are with you. If there is no response from the intercom and you have good cellular signal, call 911 directly for assistance. Explain that you are trapped and await assistance. 

If anyone is injured, be sure to mention this to the emergency service operator or 911 dispatcher, depending on whom you reach first. When an elevator entrapment is caused by human negligence, you may have a case for a personal injury lawsuit in Portland or another city.

What Should You Not Do When Trapped in an Elevator?

You should not try to force open the elevator doors. Elevators have safety mechanisms meant to keep the doors shut unless they are properly aligned with the floor. Trying to force the doors can cause serious or fatal injuries. Do not attempt to climb out of the elevator shaft either. Elevator shafts are dark, may have electrical hazards, and the height can be deceiving. Stay inside the elevator and wait for assistance. 

Coping Strategies While Waiting

As you wait for an elevator mechanic or first responders to arrive, prioritize your safety and comfort. Try and find a comfortable position to rest in as you wait, either sitting or leaning against a wall. If you are hot, remove unnecessary clothing. In cold weather, use available blankets or jackets to generate warmth. If other people are trapped with you, huddle with them to preserve body heat. If you have water, take small periodic sips of water to stay hydrated. To reduce stress and anxiety, you can practice breathing exercises, mental exercises, or sing quietly. 

What to Do When Help Arrives

It may take some time for rescuers to reach you, assess the situation, and determine how to get you out of the elevator safely. Although it is a stressful and inconvenient experience, try to be patient and remain calm. When help arrives, listen to the instructions of the rescue team and do exactly as they say. This helps ensure you get out of the elevator safely. Once you’re out, check for any injuries and seek medical attention if needed. In the aftermath of the incident, you may consider reporting the faulty elevator to building management or relevant authorities, so other people don’t suffer similar misfortune.  

Staying Safe During an Elevator Entrapment

Although freak accidents do happen, most elevator entrapments result in nothing more than a mild inconvenience for those unfortunate enough to become stuck. By adhering to the steps outlined in this article, you give yourself the best chance of experiencing as stress-free of an elevator entrapment as possible, as unrealistic as that sounds.