By Chioma Obinagwam
Although elevator accidents are rare, the recent death of a young Nigerian doctor known as Dr. Vwaere Diaso, who died on August 1 after the elevator of the General Hospital Odan in Lagos, where she was in, fell from the 10th floor to the ground floor, has brought the issue to the fore.
In this article, Confiance News explains an elevator, the various types and tips to surviving an elevator accident in case of eventuality.
An elevator is a machine that vertically transports people or freight between levels of a building. Elevators are typically powered by electric motors that drive traction cables and counterweight systems, although some use hydraulic fluid to raise a cylindrical piston. Elevators are an important part of designing a building, as they provide convenience, accessibility and safety for the occupants.
There are different types of elevators, depending on their purpose, design and hoist system. Some of the common types of elevators are:
Passenger elevator: This is the most common type of elevator, intended for the transport of people through a building. Passenger elevators can vary in size, speed and interior options depending on the use of the elevator. For example, a passenger elevator in a residential building may be smaller and slower than one in a commercial skyscraper.
Service elevator: This is a type of elevator found in many commercial buildings, intended for the transport of goods by employees, such as housekeeping staff or hospital staff. Service elevators are usually more robust and deeper than passenger elevators, so they can accommodate larger items such as cleaning carts or hospital beds.
Freight elevator: This is a type of elevator intended to move very heavy loads, such as cars or cargo, in industrial buildings. Freight elevators are not meant for passenger transport and have simpler interiors with heavy steel walls and floors. Freight elevators may also have larger doors and higher weight capacity than other types of elevators.
Dumbwaiter: This is a small freight elevator, often used for the transport of food in restaurants or other items in public or private buildings. Dumbwaiters are usually operated by buttons or ropes and have limited vertical range.
The mechanism deployed by most elevators vary.
The hoist system of an elevator is the mechanism that lifts and lowers the elevator car. There are different types of hoist systems, such as:
Hydraulic elevator: This type of hoist system uses a piston that moves within a cylinder filled with hydraulic fluid to raise and lower the elevator car. Hydraulic elevators are usually used in low-rise buildings or to transport extremely heavy loads. Hydraulic elevators require more energy to operate than other types of elevators and have less safety features.
Traction elevator: This type of hoist system uses steel ropes or belts and a counterweight to move the elevator car along rails.
Traction elevators are more common than hydraulic elevators and can operate at higher speeds and heights. Traction elevators have more safety features, such as a speed-sensing governor and switches that activate brakes on the rails.
Machine room-less elevator: This is a type of traction elevator that does not require a separate machine room to house the motor and other equipment. Instead, the motor and other components are located within the hoistway or on top of the elevator car. Machine room-less elevators save space and energy and are becoming more popular in modern buildings.
Life saving tips
Stay calm: Try to remain calm and avoid panicking. Keeping a clear mind will help you make better decisions.
Don’t attempt to jump: Avoid trying to escape from a malfunctioning elevator by jumping out. Wait for professional help to arrive.
Use the emergency button: If available, use the emergency button or call for help using the intercom inside the elevator.
Use your cellphone: If you have a cellphone with you, use it to call for help
Press all the buttons: Pressing all the buttons in the elevator can sometimes help slow down the elevator’s descent.
Confiance News also gathered from a video clip shared by a Tiktoker with the username, @Emily08177, that it is advisable to press the buttons of all the floors if you find yourself in that situation.
“It is possible to stop on a certain floor,” the video explained.
The video, which was shared by Gboyega Olokunbola on LinkedIn, showed a woman who entered an elevator and shortly after, it began to malfunction.
She began to press the buttons of all the numbers of the floors quickly. Fortunately, the elevator stopped at a certain floor. She quickly stepped out.
Afterwards, the elevator went up and finally crashed on the ground floor.
Brace yourself: Hold onto something sturdy in the elevator, such as a handrail or a pole.
Stay away from the doors: Stay away from the doors of the elevator as they can open unexpectedly during a fall
Jump before impact: If you jump just before the elevator hits the ground, you can reduce the impact of the fall.
Bend your knees: If you can’t jump, bend your knees to absorb the shock of the fall.
Protect your face: If you’re in a falling elevator, it’s best to lay directly on your back the moment you feel the elevator falling. As you lay on your back, cover your face using your arm to protect it against any debris or falling materials that might land on you during impact.
Lay on the floor: If there’s no handrail, lie on the floor of the elevator on your back, protecting your head and face with your arms. Spreading your body out on the ground will help minimize the overall impact force on any one part of your body.