EACH DAY IN THE UNITED STATES ELEVATORS AND ESCALATORS TRANSPORT AN ESTIMATED 575 MILLION PASSENGERS. THESE SOPHISTICATED MACHINES, IF NOT REGULATED BY SAFETY CODES, COULD PRESENT A SAFETY HAZARD FOR USERS.
Most of us aren’t thinking of safety each time we board an elevator. We trust it will take us from point A to point B with no issues. But what if something goes wrong? What if the elevator stops between floors? What if no one’s at home to hear you call out for help? What if you reach for your cell phone to call a family member and discover you have no service? It’s a scary thought.
Safety on Call
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) elevator code requires an approved emergency two-way communications device be installed in all elevators—even those found in homes across America. The device is a straightforward way for home owners or property managers to reduce the risk of elevator injuries or entrapment. Wouldn’t you feel safer if you knew help is—literally—only a phone call away?
Here’s why the “two-way” part of the communications device is important: It’s nearly impossible for police or paramedics to assess the nature of your emergency if your home elevator is not equipped with a reliable, working phone line. If they are unable to speak directly with you, the firemen dispatched may think urgency is key and decide to perform an emergency extraction by using “jaws of life”-type equipment. This process, and the damage it brings to your home and elevator equipment, is extremely costly (and completely unnecessary) in a non-life-threatening situation.
Code and Compliance
To clarify, the current ASME code addressing emergency communications states that communication must be established between the elevator car and another location in the home. If no contact is made at the second location, communication is automatically directed to a 24-hour monitoring service. A monitoring/dispatch service can quickly handle both emergency and non-emergency situations no matter the time of day.
It is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure the elevator phone works properly. One monitoring service suggests the following steps to improve the safety of your elevator:
- Inspect the two-way communications device weekly and verify the phone line is installed and working properly by placing a test call.
- If the phone line is not working properly, contact your telephone provider to verify the line is in proper working order.
- Verify the call is answered by a person and not an answering machine.
- Confirm the person answering can identify the location of the elevator.
- Ensure the proper emergency contact information has been registered.
- If problems are discovered, contact your service provider to report the issue.
- Consider upgrading your communications device to enhance the safety of your elevator.
Trust is Key
Liftavator, always focused on safety, is adopting these new communication code changes in all new installations. If your home elevator was installed prior to 2017, we encourage you to call and speak with a representative to learn if your system is in compliance. If not, we’d be happy to schedule a quick inspection. Thankfully, several options are available to update a non-compliant elevator and we can discuss each option and determine what will best work for you and your family.
Liftavator, the number-one source for residential, limited use/limited application (LU/LA) in North Carolina, designs, builds, and installs only the highest quality elevators and platform lifts. In addition to the company’s revolutionary designs and ideas, it offers one of the industry’s most comprehensive warranties. Liftavator doesn’t consider a job complete until the customer is 100% satisfied.
For more information on residential and commercial elevators, stairlifts, vertilifts, ramps, warranties and more, visit www.liftavator.com or call (252) 634-1717 today.
(Sources: Liftavator Inc.; National Elevator Industry, Inc.; The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); Kings III Emergency Communications; and KONE, Inc.)