Thread: Elevator Rescue

  1. #1
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Central Alabama

    Question Elevator Rescue

    I am looking for some info on elevator rescues. I have never participated in one ,but the city I work in has several buildings with elevators in them. I'm sure it is only a matter of time. I know some of you guys probably have done quite a few of them. I assume that there is a few safety considerations involved. Any advice or links would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    May 2000
    Wheaton IL


    A big source for information is from the elevator maker themselves.
    While it hasn't been recently, we have had OTIS come out to give us an elevator orentation. Most elevator rescues are just stuck elevators, and overall very easy.
    Control of the power is one of the first things you'll do. That along with getting in touch with the person in the elevator. Often resetting the emergency stop, or selecting a floor again will get the elevator moving. Protect the shaft if you open the hoist way doors. I've yet to have to force a door on an elevator to open it. If stuck between floors it is beter to evacuate up the half floor then down, when going down the shaft is exposed and a fall hazard.
    Again go to the experts for info.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 1998


    I agree. You must access the power and control it. Find out who services the elevators in your area and schedule a class.

    There are two basic type of elevators. One is the cable/hoist that uses a cable and reel in the top of the shaft to raise and lower the elevator. The other is hydraulic that uses a piston to raise and lower the elevator from below.

    In either case you need to have access to the keys for the elevator and associated machinery/power supply. We have cable/hoist type elevators that also have a small hole in the top of the door for a special key to open the shaft and cab doors without resorting to force.

    We do several "rescues" a year and normally can open the cab doors to get people out even when it's between floors. A small (4') stepladder comes in handy for getting people out of the cab.

    Stay Safe

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Here, There, Everywhere

    Lightbulb 4th floor, ladies lingierie and housewares

    If you want the best procedures based on 10,000s of elevator "emergencies" and "rescues". I would purchase a copy of the FDNY books on CD from
    FDNY Books
    And look up the elevator procedures.

    It happens everyday here and just about every concivable situation has been encountered at least once around here. And the procedures are based on that experiecnce. During the blackout of 2003 there were 1000s done just that day alone.

    A few simple rules for your dept:
    -establish an order of operations...such as push call button, firemans service key, Make sure hoistway doors closed...etc.
    -Once it is determined that power removal is necessary. Have the roof man or whomever remove power in the control room. And keep him there with a handie-talkie to make sure NO ONE restores power.(super or repairman)
    -If at all possible remove "up&out" not "down&out" as this keeps the shaft unexposed.
    -have procedures in place for putting men on the car and in the shaft. Ropes, maximum number on car, etc.

    What ever you do. have procedures in place and duties assigned to certian members of the Truck Co. or Rescue Co. If you are one of those unfortuneate depts that have 2 man staffing (2 FFs and officer) We use a Truck Co. with 5 men-1 officer at minimum. And engine if a medical emergency is also involved. If there is smoke in the shaft or has malfunctioned do to a fire or catastrofic failure, we fill out the box with 3 Engs 2 Trucks usually rescue or squad and a Chief. With a fire the potential for problems is infinite. And the civilians trapped are in great peril due to the fact they are in an enclosed shaft that acts as a flue. CO builds up fast in an elevator car that is closed. However you get the man power, do it.

    Most are just incidents and not emergenices or rescues. They are rather routine operation involving a single truck co. under most circumstances. However they are something you should treat seriously as some people do gradually get panicy and sick the longer they are stuck.


  5. #5
    Forum Member
    ffexpCP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    Here’s my reply to a similar thread a few months back:

    I’ve worked in building maintenance for about 3 years. Over that time, I’ve had to perform a few elevator rescues on two different styles. While some elevator techs gets ticked off that we go inside the machinery rooms and open the shaft, we argue that their response time is ridiculous. (he says to legally enter the mechanical room we need to be licensed elevator journeymen and be bonded) While I do agree with letting the licensed mechanics do the work, I cannot see letting someone stay stuck for several hours.

    With that said, this is what I do:

    * Establish communication with the cab – I use the phone first. I let them know we know they are stuck and assure them we are working to get them out.

    On our old elevator, I try to reset the controls. This is an all electrical-mechanical relay controlled board. To do this, I throw the main switch, wait a few seconds for all the relays to drop, and reconnect the power. This usually works.

    The newer elevators are computerized so power cannot be cut or it will erase the programming. What I do here is take the fire key and attempt a recall (phase I fire operation). This occasionally works.

    When that doesn’t work is when we open the shaft.
    * Make sure the emergency stop is activated. At my building, this cuts power to the main motors and engages the brakes. I have seen the switch in both the cab and in the shaft between the doors on the first landing.
    * If it’s a hydraulic elevator, I go to the mechanical room and close the manual valve going to the reservoir. Now the cab can’t move.
    * If you cut power, there will be a separate disconnect for the cab (lights, fan) and a much larger one for the controls and equipment. Beware, some elevators have an auxiliary power source AFTER the disconnect.
    * Since the situation is stabilized, you can now take the hoistway door key and open the outer door. The inner door is fairly more complex and should be easy to open once you have studied the mechanics for a minute. At my building, the doors are spring loaded, so bring a few wedges.

    I have been shown how to do this by our former elevator tech. When our warranty contract expired, we re-bided and the new low bidder was the guy with the attitude.
    Check out chapter 13 in the second edition of IFSTA’s Building Construction Related to the Fire Service. There is a fairly large section on elevators. It goes through the different types and how they work. It also has New York’s elevator emergency operations. The book also references to IFSTA’s Fire Service Rescue manual.

    Hope it helps.

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