Trapped Under An Elevator

Vol. 2 No. 3


Even in the safest school environments, student curiosity can become a risk. A recent story published by the Huffington Post describes how student exploration can go wrong.

Three girls from the Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma decided to explore their schools elevator at lunch hour. They wanted to know whether they could open the doors from the inside of the elevator shaft. While trying to leave, they accidentally hit the elevator call button, which caused the elevator to descend. In an attempt to not be crushed, one of the girls wedged her shoe between the elevator car and the ground, allowing them just 8 inches of space.

An administrator hearing the girl’s screams found the girls trapped and called 911. It took 911 responders 40 minutes to free the girls. One girl required emergency transport, the other two were evaluated non-emergency with minor back and leg injuries.

The school had last had the elevator evaluated for meeting safety requirements on October 26, 2011, and although it has passed inspection, the elevator is not approved for use due to handicapped accessibility issues.

You can read the full story here.

This story has a happy ending, however, it could have been a fatal tragedy. The following elevator safety tips can be shared with students, faculty, and staff members to help avoid further news stories such as this one. These may seem like common sense, however, there is no harm in a friendly reminder!

Elevator Safety Tips

When waiting for elevators:

  • Look and listen for the signal announcing your car’s arrival
  • Stand clear of the elevator doors and aside for exiting passengers
  • Don’t squeeze into a full car—wait for the next one to arrive
  • Don’t attempt to stop closing doors
  • In the event of a fire or other situation that could interfere with the car’s electrical system, take the stairs

When boarding:

  • Watch your step—the car might not be level with the floor
  • Stand clear of the doors
  • Never try to stop a closing door

When riding:

  • Hold the handrail if available
  • Pay attention to the floor indicators
  • If doors do not open when the elevator stops, push the DOOR OPEN button

When exiting:

  • Exit immediately
  • Do not push people in front of you
  • Watch your step. The car might not be level with the ground

In the event of an emergency:

  • If the elevator stops in between floors, do not panic
  • Never climb out of a stalled elevator
  • Use the alarm or help button, or the telephone or intercom to call for assistance
  • Wait for qualified help to arrive—never try to leave a stalled elevator
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