Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation

The resource for rider safety education

MISSION: To educate the public to ride elevators, escalators and moving walks safely through informational programs.

Elevator Safety


Elevator Safety Rules

  • When you approach an elevator:

    - Know your destination. Push elevator call button for the direction you want to go.
    - Stand aside for exiting passengers.
    - Wait for the next car, if the elevator is full.
    - Take the stairs if there is a fire
    - Do not try to stop a closing door. Wait for the next elevator.

  • When you enter and leave an elevator:

    - Enter and exit carefully. Step up or down if the elevator floor and hall floor are not level.
    - Hold children and pets firmly.
    - Stand clear of the doors – keep clothes and carry-ons away from the opening.
    - Push and hold the DOOR OPEN button if the doors need to be held open, or ask someone to push the button for you.

  • When riding on the elevator:

    - Stand next to the elevator wall.
    - Hold the handrail if available.
    - Pay attention to the floor indications.
    - If the doors do not open when the elevator stops, push the DOOR OPEN button.

  • What to Do in the Event of a Delay

    - Push or pull the Alarm button to call for assistance.
    - Phone for help, if a phone is available. An intercom or hands free phone may be available. Follow instructions for their use.
    - Pry not! Do not force open the elevator doors. Do not attempt to leave the elevator.
    - Patience, please. You are safe and there is plenty of air. So relax and wait for help.

Types of Elevators

  • Hydraulic Elevator (in buildings of 2-5 floors)

    Moves the elevator car by pumping oil in and out of a steel cylinder -- like the auto lifts in a car repair shop.

  • Traction Elevator (usually in buildings with more than 5 floors)

    An electric motor moves the enclosed car and a counter-weight between steel tracks. This car is suspended by a series of steel cables wrapped around a rotating drive which makes the car go up and down. Any single cable can support many times the weight of a fully loaded car.

Elevator Myths & Fears

  • MYTH: Many people believe elevators are held up by only one rope that can break, leaving passengers trapped in a falling car.

    TRUTH: Elevators are supported by multiple steel cables. Each cable alone can support a fully loaded car.

  • MYTH: Some people believe they have been in an elevator where the elevator car fell several floors and then "caught itself".

    TRUTH: This feeling is a mystery. Elevator experts believe people may think this happened because they 1) got on an elevator going in a different direction than expected, or 2) saw the elevator floor indicator lights flash by quickly which gave the visual impression of falling.

  • MYTH: Some people believe the hall doors will open when an elevator is not there.

    TRUTH: The truth is that the elevator car controls whether the hall doors open. If the car is not at the landing, the hall doors can't open because their opening can only be triggered by the arriving car engaging an unlocking device after the elevator has stopped at the landing.

  • MYTH: Some people believe that if an elevator is stuck between floors that they are in danger of falling and should try to get out.

    TRUTH: Absolutely not! Leaving the car on your own could result in injury. Elevator cars are designed as "safe rooms". The safest place is inside the car. Ring the alarm and wait for help. Leave the car only with the assistance of professional rescuers.

  • MYTH: Pushing the CALL button repeatedly will make the elevator appear faster.

    TRUTH: The call is registered just once; movement is in response to the elevator controllers.

  • MYTH: Pushing the DOOR CLOSE button closes the doors faster.

    TRUTH: It may cause the doors to close sooner, but not faster. However, if a buzzer sounds, the doors may close slower; it is important to get out of the doorway as quickly as possible.

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