Lifts / 20 May 2022

I’m trapped in the lift. What do I do now? We’ll answer your questions!

You go in the lift, press the button for the floor you are going to, the doors close and the cab starts going up. Suddenly, you notice a strange jolt and the lift stops. You are now stuck in a lift. What happens next?

Getting trapped in a lift is not unusual; it happens every day. Fortunately, it involves operations that we have allocated both technical and human resources to so we can offer the best response time and service.

We realise that being trapped or stuck in a lift can be stressful (especially for people who suffer from claustrophobia), so ILS wants to offer you some simple guidelines for dealing with this situation.

What to do if you are stuck in a lift

Keep calm

Above all, keep calm. Even if you’re trapped, you’re safe and this situation is only temporary. Losing your cool or suffering an anxiety attack will be counterproductive. If you panic, it will make it harder for you to think clearly. Plus, if you don’t calm down, you won’t be of any help to anyone travelling with you. In short: breathe deep, relax your body and mind and analyse the situation carefully. On top of being trapped, you may feel the classic fear of running out of air. However, all lift cabs have their own ventilation grilles. Even if you can’t see them, they are there and provide a steady air supply, so there is zero chance of running out of air.

But what if the lift falls? This is almost impossible. Lifts have a safety brake system that keeps the cab from falling. Another recommendation before calling for help is to press the “open doors” button. Sometimes this button just gets stuck, and if you press it again and you’re at a floor, they may open. It sounds ironic, but you’d be surprised to learn how many times people push the emergency button when they could’ve simply pressed the “open doors” button again.

However, if you do this and the doors open and it turns out you are between floors, you can try pressing the button for a different floor than the one you were initially heading for. Many times, the fault clears and the lift takes you to that floor without any problem. If, for any reason, the lift does not react and you’re between floors, the best thing is not to jump from the cab and wait for a technician to arrive. Once the technician takes the lift to a floor, you can leave normally, without the risk of falling down the shaft. 

Let someone know: Who to call?

Once you’re over the initial shock, you have to let someone on the outside know what’s going on so the rescue process can begin immediately. Getting the attention of neighbours can help. But before you get to that point, there are other, more effective options:

Press the alarm button

The first option is offered by the lift itself. In it, you will find an alarm button that is there exactly for these situations (and marked with a yellow bell). This button – if pressed continuously for at least 4 seconds – will sound an alarm to alert the residents (and the janitor, if there is one). In parallel, a voice call will be placed to the lift maintenance company. This is the first call for help we should send to the outside. Of course, it is important to note that if this button is not pressed continuously, the call will not be placed.

Call the maintenance phone

If pressing the alarm button does not work or your lift does not have an intercom, the next step is to call the maintenance company on your phone. The lift cab will usually have a sticker with a 24-hour maintenance and service hotline number. Of course, calls from lift cabs go to ILS immediately, and take priority over other calls that may be coming in at the same time (calls from customers or suppliers, or from internal personnel). This ensures immediate communication with people trapped in the cab.

Call the emergency number

If the above doesn’t work, calling 112 is the next logical step. Emergency specialists will be able to handle the situation and take immediate actions after the call.

As lift experts, we recommend that you, under no circumstances, jump inside the lift or force open the doors. The latter could cause damage to the opening mechanism, making the rescue more difficult. You should also not try to exit the cab by your own means or accept help from other people not trained in this task. Doing so may damage the system. And, in the worst-case scenario, you could fall down the lift shaft. That is why we recommend waiting for a specialist from the maintenance company to arrive and following their instructions to the letter.

What do I do while I wait for help and I’m still trapped in the lift?

You should make yourself comfortable while you wait for the technician to arrive. We recommend that you sit on the floor. Breathe calmly, keep your mind busy and, if you’re with someone, take the opportunity to chat with the other passengers in the lift. This will make the wait more pleasant. It is vital to keep yourself busy so the time passes by as quickly as possible.

Once the technicians arrive, the advice is logical: cooperate with the people who are rescuing you. The important thing here is to follow every instruction to a tee, whether it’s from the lift company’s maintenance services, emergency personnel or even the fire brigade. Acting calmly and in an orderly manner is the best way to deal with this situation.

ILS’s commitment

At ILS, we have a state-of-the-art rescue system that, when you make an emergency call, geolocates the broken lift and the closest technicians. Our customer service centre coordinates the rescue and provides the necessary information.

We have specially trained personnel and our mobility systems are the most advanced. Thanks to all of this, ILS guarantees the fastest rescue time in the sector. We track rescue times internally every day to guarantee this commitment and improve our response times continuosly.

We know how traumatic it can be to be trapped. At ILS, we work to ensure that this experience is over as fast as possible. That’s why, in an effort to improve, the day after the entrapment, we call the person who was trapped and ask them to rate our service. Those affected can also fill in an online survey.

We also have a 24-hour technical assistance service for all types of lifts of any brand. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!