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Could you survive falling down an elevator shaft? How about being trapped inside an elevator for days? Or being inside a falling elevator? These are just some of the horrible things that can go wrong every time you step inside an elevator.

These hazards don’t stop millions of people from riding elevators every day. But by the end of this video, you might just want to take the stairs. Incidents involving elevators kill about 27 people and seriously injure 10,000 each year in the United States.

If you ride elevators often, you’ve probably imagined what you’d do if the elevator started plummeting to the ground. But have you ever planned for all the other things that can go wrong?


How long would your oxygen last if you were trapped inside? Should you pry open the doors and climb out? And what should you do if the elevator catches on fire?

Step One: Don’t Climb Out

You might feel restless and anxious to get out of the elevator but find the patience to wait inside. Regardless of whether the elevator doors are closed shut or slightly open or even slightly moving, don’t try to get out on your own. If you try climbing out of a malfunctioning elevator, there’s an enormous risk of getting caught between the elevator door and the shaft.


So you would be safer inside the cabin. In 2019, a man was crushed to death by a malfunctioning elevator at a Manhattan luxury high-rise. The man was in an elevator that opened its doors at the lobby and then began to fall. He instinctively shot out his right hand to grab the frame of the elevator door and tried to plant his right leg onto a sliver of lobby floor, but was immediately overpowered.

Step Two: Assess the situation

If you are afraid of being in this situation in the first place, or if you know that the elevator has not been working properly, wait a few seconds before you step inside it. In most situations, if it’s going to malfunction, it will happen right after the doors open. That slight delay might protect you from getting caught in between the doors, or trapped between the shaft and the cabin.

Step Three: Call for help

If you’re trapped, most elevators have a button you can press to call for help. So if the elevator malfunctions, the first thing you should do is to press the alarm button. If the power is off, you can also use your phone to call for help. Calling professionals to help you is also the best solution if the elevator jams between floors or the door won’t open. But if the help button and your phone don’t work, you won’t run out of air, so scream for help.


Step Four: Step away from a fire

If the elevator you are stuck in is on fire, step away from the fire and keep your head down. Luckily for you, firefighters can control the elevators, get you to a floor, open the doors and get you out safely.

Step Five: Press all the buttons

If the elevator malfunctioned because the power went out and then came back on, pressing all the buttons or the open and close door buttons might just fix the issue. If there is even a slight chance of it working it’s worth trying. However, do not smash the buttons because that will only make things worse.


Elevator malfunctions are quite rare compared to how many elevator rides we take a day, and dying or being possibly injured is even rarer. But you can never be too prepared. So if you want to find out more about what to do in a falling elevator, keep watching here on How to Survive.


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