Elevator Entrapment Procedures

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Procedure Statement

 Elevator emergencies must be coordinated, such that the safety of all persons involved is fully controlled. This document details the procedures that shall be taken during elevator entrapment and other elevator malfunctions.

Note: Normal, routine service, and maintenance for elevators is not within the scope of this procedure.


To establish specific procedures for aiding and assisting in removal of passengers who become entrapped in inoperable campus elevators, and/or any elevator concern that could result in potential injury.


  • All staff should be cognizant of the need for safety in all aspects of elevator operations. Generally, elevator rescues should be performed under the direct supervision of the elevator service company’s repair technicians. This procedure increases the safety factor, and it reduces the college’s liability. During entrapment incidents, should any emergency situation develop, such as fire or emergency medical conditions for a passenger on the stalled elevator, the local fire department will be called for immediate response.
    If people are trapped inside an elevator, they should activate the elevator emergency phone to notify the University Police Department. The University Police Department will send assistance.
  • The primary responsibility of college employees in rendering aid to passengers in a stalled elevator is to make certain that all safety considerations have been taken into account. This includes contacting the responding elevator service technicians, reassuring passengers, and assessing the situation for potential emergencies.
  1. If you are outside an elevator and have knowledge of someone trapped inside the elevator, contact the University Police Department at 395-2222.
    1. Do not attempt rescue
    2. Let the passengers know help is en route
    3. When reporting an elevator failure, provide the following:
      1. Caller’s name
      2. Location (e.g., building, floor)
      3. Problem (e.g., stalled, stuck between floors, people trapped)
      4. Number of people trapped
      5. Any injuries, life threatening conditions or additional information
  2. The University Police Department will follow their internal departmental procedures, which include:
    1. Dispatch a University Police Officer to respond to the call
    2. Initiate an emergency service request via the Facilities Service Center for an elevator technician
    3. Communicate to the trapped persons inside the elevator that help is on the way
    4. Ascertain if there are any injuries, severe sense of panic or life threatening conditions inside the elevator
    5. May request assistance from other services such as fire/ambulance if necessary
  3. Physical Plant staff will:
    1. Contact the elevator contractor for an emergency service request and determine the estimated time of arrival
    2. Dispatch appropriate Physical Plant staff to the scene
  4. If the elevator service company is available, and can respond within 30 minutes, no attempt will be made to remove passengers, unless there is an emergency condition.
  5. If the elevator service company cannot respond within 30 minutes, college personnel may consider assisting passengers from the elevator – provided that the following safety procedures are in place:
    1. Physical Plant staff with the appropriate skills may reset the elevator once to assist in bringing it to a floor
    2. When using the door unlocking device, open the door only enough to determine the location of the elevator. The car floor must be no more than three feet above the landing; otherwise, no attempt will be made to remove passengers. The “skirt” below the elevator car must be in a position to prevent someone slipping down the elevator shaft
    3. The elevator must have power disconnected in the control room
    4. Adequate numbers of personnel must be available to assist passengers out of the stalled car. If the car is more than 12 inches above the level of the floor, a stepladder must be available.
    5. Request the elevator passenger(s) to set the “emergency stop” switch within the car to the “stop” position (if the car is so equipped)
    6. After assisting passengers from the elevator, the elevator doors will be closed, and the elevator will be posted as out of order (unless normal function is restored)

Please note: Not all elevator entrapment scenarios can be covered in this procedure. Common sense must be applied whenever attempting to rescue or assist persons in stalled elevators. If unsafe conditions exist, do not attempt to open elevator doors.


For elevator issues not posing an immediate risk to safety, The Facilities and Planning Service Center 305-2408 should be notified immediately.

Last Updated 9/22/22