Why You Should Never Use an Elevator During a Fire


When you’re trying to escape a fire, every second counts. But if you’re caught on an elevator, you could be in for a long, treacherous wait.

Elevators are one of the most common means of vertical transportation in commercial and residential buildings, and they can be found in most high-rise buildings. But when a fire occurs in a tall building, the elevator can quickly become a death trap.

Here’s why you should never use an elevator during a fire:

1. The elevator may not stop at your floor.

If the fire alarm sounds, the first thing you should do is evacuate the building. But if you’re already on an elevator, you may be tempted to stay put and ride it to your floor.

However, the elevator may not stop at your floor if the fire alarm is activated. Elevators are equipped with “recall” buttons that will send them back to the ground floor in the event of an emergency.

2. The elevator may become stuck.

Even if the elevator does stop at your floor, it may become stuck between floors. This is a common occurrence during a fire, as the heat and smoke can cause the elevator doors to jam.

3. You could be trapped in the elevator shaft.

If the elevator becomes stuck, you could be trapped in the elevator shaft. And if the fire is raging on the floor below you, the elevator shaft could quickly fill up with smoke and heat.

4. The elevator could plunge to the ground.

In a high-rise building, the elevator could plunge to the ground if the fire damages the cables that support it. This is a very real danger, as evidenced by the 2014 elevator fire in New York City that killed one person and injured six others.

5. You could be overcome by smoke and heat.

If you’re trapped in an elevator during a fire, you could be overcome by smoke and heat long before the fire department arrives. In a high-rise building, it could take hours for the firefighters to reach you.

So, if you find yourself on an elevator when the fire alarm sounds, don’t panic. Hit the “stop” button and get off at the next floor. Then take the stairs to safety.

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