What do I do if the elevator gets stuck?

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Getting stuck in an elevator is a nightmare for many people. Why can you remain calm if the worst comes to the worst, and how can you make the most of the time?

In romantic comedies, it sometimes leads to great happiness; in action films, it leads to spectacular stunts. The stuck elevator has a supporting—or rather, standing—role in many films.

If this happens to you in real life, you should avoid one thing above all: unauthorized rescue attempts. Under no circumstances should you try to push the door open and climb out between floors. There is a danger to life here, warns the testing organization, Dekra. Also, the lift can suddenly start moving again, for example, after a power failure.

This is particularly important
Instead, one thing is crucial: stay calm. ‘Because, despite many horror scenarios, nothing can happen. The door will open again, and you will get out of the lift,’ says Susan Schmidt. She works in the emergency call center of lift manufacturer Schindler. The biggest worry for many people is that they won’t be able to breathe. ‘But you can’t suffocate in the cabin. It’s not hermetically sealed,’ she says.

Instead, press the emergency button to call for help and hold it for a long time. Three to five seconds are usually necessary. The emergency call center, manned at all times, then answers questions and sends a staff member. ‘There is no legal requirement for the time someone has to be freed. We try to have a technician on-site within 30 minutes to free the person,’ says Schmidt. During this time, the employees remain in contact with the trapped person. ‘We have a system that ensures we never lose an emergency call or forget anyone. And it also reminds us to call the cabin regularly and ask how things are going,’ says Schmidt.

She recommends sitting down and distracting yourself, for example, with your smartphone. You can press the emergency call button to contact the staff if you need someone to talk to.

What outsiders can do
Anyone who notices from the outside that a lift is stuck should refrain from unauthorized rescue attempts. Instead, speak to the people in the lift and make an emergency call if you have not already done so. The maintenance company’s emergency number should be located at the main entrance to the lift.

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