Pre-Planning Elevator Rescues, Part 2/2

Elevators are incredibly complex machinery systems, and they are also one of the more common causes of machinery rescue incidents in urban and suburban areas.  One strategy for improving your agency’s response to elevator rescue incidents is to get out and start pre-planning the elevators in your community.  In this post, we are going to finish up discussing some of the information that can be included in an elevator rescue pre-plan.

Type of Elevator System(s)

The two broad categories of elevators are hydraulic (buildings < 6 stories) and traction elevators (buildings > 6 stories).  Within each of these broad categories there are many variations.  It is important for first responders to understand the basic differences and hazards associated with each elevator type.  Knowing the elevator type may also help you locate the elevator machine room.  Which leads us into our next piece of information.


Location of the Elevator Machine Room(s)

Securing the power to the elevator is one of the most important steps to take when performing an elevator rescue.  Unfortunately, there are still many first responders skipping this step.  Pre-plan the location of the elevator machine rooms in your buildings, so that you can quickly and efficiently secure the power when called upon to perform a rescue in an emergency situation.  Keep in mind, some elevators are being built now as machine room less (MRL) systems.  These elevators may not have a traditional elevator machine room.

Location and Type of Elevator Keys

There are two types of keys first responders should be concerned about: the fire service key and hoistway door key.  The fire service key will allow first responders to recall the elevators to a designated landing (typically the lobby) using the Phase 1 recall.  Some departments will have possession of these keys, while others will have to rely on retrieving them from the facility at the time of the incident.  The other keys first responders should be familiar with are hoistway door keys.  Hoistway door keys allow first responders to open the door leading into the elevator from the floor.

Do you include any other information in your elevator rescue pre-plans?

We include a section discussing elevator types and hazards in our Machinery Rescue Awareness (3 hours) class.  For more in-depth information related to elevator emergencies, check out Dragon Rescue Management, Inc.

Bill Elder
Owner / Lead Instructor
Elder Technical Rescue Services, LLC

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