How to survive being stuck in an elevator

How to survive being stuck in an elevator

Stuck In Elevator

Here’s the scenario: the elevator stops dead, the building is deserted.  What do you do?


First of all, here is a list of what NOT to do when you find yourself being stuck in an elevator

  • Do not panic or get hysterical, although this might be your first reaction.  It will only upset your fellow passengers and cause even more hysteria.  After all, it may just be a momentary pause.
  • Do not take of any part of the control panel and start fiddling with it, you may electrocute yourself or worsen the already bad situation, like causing the brakes to fail! Ouch..
  • Do not use large force to pry the doors open.
  • Do not climb out the little hatch on top, there are plenty more electrical surprised for you there.
  • Do not crawl out of the elevator while its between floors.  Some have fallen down shafts and others well, have been chopped in half.


And now, here is a list of what you SHOULD do when finding yourself stuck in an elevator

  • Check and make sure if the stop button hasn’t been accidentally hit.  Maybe the elevator is so crowded someone nudged the button.
  • Look for an emergency speaker, and use it. Try and be funny to the amusement of your fellow “inmates”, this is BRAVO FOXTROT 112, MAYDAY, STUCK IN ELEVATOR # — . Ok, so we are just kidding with this one… But do try and call for help
  • Try “bumping” the doors. This might cause it to open.  Do NOT use heavy force.  If the doors DO open, walk out. Quickly.  Just in case.
  • If there happens to be no mobile/cell phone reception, dial emergency numbers because they operate at a higher power boost than normal calls.
  • Try to attract attention from people on the other side by bashing metal objects against the door.  If you happen to know Morse code for SOS, use it.  SOS- short short short long long long short short short. ) 😉
  • Remember to breathe deeply and regularly to remain calm and collected.
  • Wait it out.  Emergency assistance will be there before you know it.  Many people have been killed trying to escape from stationary elevators.


If you however…SMELL FIRE!!! Try anything and everything.  Look for a small lock catch which can be found on most elevator doors.  It’s an electronically operated manual switch.  Try jerking it with your car keys, you never know.  Oh and next time, take the stairs, your heart will thank you for it.

Author: Johan Bosman

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