Elevator Entrapment Protocols and Considerations

Elevator Entrapment Protocols and Considerations

What to do when someone is stuck in an elevator?  This question comes up on occasion in campus safety and emergency management conversations.  I asked some colleagues in higher education emergency management via the Disaster Resistant University Listserv about this and got a lot of great responses.  

After reviewing their responses and having some conversations with other practitioners, facilities managers, and safety leaders I found some themes.  The main things I see that need to be considered when developing or updating one of these protocols in educational institutions are:

  • Protocols should differentiate between occupied and unoccupied elevators.
  • Notifications should go to Security/Police and Facilities.  If students, families, or staff are inside, an appropriate administrator (Dean on Call and/or HR) should be called.  
  • Regarding calling the Fire Department, if there are injuries, life-threatening emergencies, or other imminent dangers, call 911 immediately.  If none of these conditions exist, work with Facilities and Elevator Techs/Contractors.
  • Any elevator that had entrapment should be placed out-of-service with signs until cleared by Facilities and Elevator Techs/Contractors.

For specific example protocols, I have included a link to a view-only Google folder that contains many of the example protocols that I received when I posted to the DRU Listserv.  If yours is on this list and you want it off, let me know via comments or email and I will remove it. Folder link is here.  


2 thoughts on “Elevator Entrapment Protocols and Considerations

  1. Matthew, thanks for the article; we are working on our protocols right now. Can you tell me why Dean of Students or Human Resources is contacted when students and families are involved in entrapment, please?

    1. A few schools had something like this in the protocols. I know as a student affairs administrator that students (and their families) may complain about being stuck, especially, if it caused them to miss a class, work, appointments, etc. Having a campus official advise the dean’s office and/or HR will all for verification of their story. Hopefully, this helps, let me know if I can help you more.

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