Elevator Emergencies

What to Do:

Fire Emergency

Do not use elevators in a fire emergency. The elevator hoistway (shaft) acts as a chimney, filling with smoke and heat. People who cannot use stairs should take shelter in an area of refuge (usually a landing of an exit stairway) and contact the Department of Public Safety at 911 or activate a blue light phone tower and await rescue.

If a building fire alarm is activated, elevators are programmed to return to the exit level of the building and open the doors to discharge any passengers. However, if the building fire protection system senses the fire in the vicinity of the elevator on the exit level, the elevator car will stop and open on the next level above. Passengers should exit the elevator and use the stairs to exit the building.

Service Interruption

If you are a passenger in an elevator when service is interrupted:

  • Remain calm.
  • Use the emergency telephone in the elevator to contact the Department of Public Safety. Tell them your location and any identifying information about the elevator car.
  • Notify Public Safety if there is a medical emergency so they can dispatch emergency services if necessary.
  • Do not attempt to pry open the car doors or exit the car through the ceiling hatch.
  • Most elevator outages are corrected quickly by trained University personnel.