Although the elevator is one of the most practical inventions of the modern era and with the latest technological advances has become a safe lifting system, many people are wary of entering one and prefer to use the stairs . Claustrophobia, insecurity, fear of being locked up and not being able to leave or even that the cabin falls into the void are the most repeated arguments by those who do not mind doing a little exercise so as not to risk suffering a bad pass.
Between two floors
There will be one who has been left on fire the famous film directed by Jerry Jameson in 1974 Panic in the Elevator , in which the protagonists are locked up with a murderer in an elevator that stands between two plants, and the risk of fall Free by overweight is more than latent. But the truth is that, today, with the security elements that incorporate these devices nowadays, it is practically impossible for this to happen.
Panic in the elevator (The elevator 1974)
Non existent possibilities
The chances of suffering a free fall in an elevator are nonexistent. Companies and manufacturers must adhere to European Union safety regulations, such as Directive 2006/42 / EC. It offers a series of guidelines in reference to the use of machinery in which it is forced to integrate safety in the design and manufacturing phases, as well as to carry out a correct installation and proper maintenance.
Safety elements in elevators
This legislation, which has gone hand in hand with the evolution of technology and its implementation by manufacturers and installers, has made it possible for lifts to incorporate a variety of security elements that make it practically impossible Accidents with this type of machinery. Some of these elements are going to be stripped below in that post.
Parachute for lifts
It is a safety system of interlocking to the guide rails capable of stopping and maintaining the cabin from the action of the speed limiter, whose braking can be progressive or instantaneous, depending on the type of parachute. If the cab falls or exceeds the normal speed, this lever mechanism will cause the guides to be bitten by the rollers acting to drive the elevator, so that the cab will be automatically stopped. There is also another model called a counterweight parachute, which must be dependent on the performance of a speed limiter independent of that of the elevator car.
The parachute system has to be mechanically applied, and its release can only occur with the movement of the car in an upward direction. In addition, the elevators incorporate shock absorbers in both the cabin and the counterweight, which can be, the latter, spring or hydraulic type.
These elements of security would not be useful if we suddenly find that we are the protagonists of The Trap of Evil , a tape in which tells how a group of young people is locked in an elevator next to the devil.
As much as we acted, it would be difficult to avoid the will of the prince of darkness and king of evil. Joking apart, today all lifts incorporate bells that trigger alarms when emergency situations occur. Most are connected to telephone hotlines, so in case of an incident, these alarms notify those responsible for maintenance of these facilities, who will quickly go to solve it.
The Trap of Evil (Devil 2010)
Own food system
Its operation allows that, in case of power failure, the distress lights are automatically switched on inside the cab. The alarm must be able to be used also in this case, so it incorporates a system of own power through accumulators of energy.
It is a device that allows to interrupt the maneuvers recorded by the mechanism of an elevator, so that it can get to immobilize the cabin in case of occurrence of any incident. The power supply to the tractor unit is cut off, causing a brake effect that causes the cab to move slowly until it stops at the lowest stop.
This device renders the controls of the cabin and floors unusable, so that interference can not occur that could complicate the emergency situation.
They are the most important element for the safety of an elevator, unless we find ourselves in a situation similar to that of Naomi Watts in The Shaft , a movie that goes from assassin lifts.
The Shaft (Down 2001)
Reality, in this case, always surpasses fiction. Therefore, these speed limiters will make it possible for the risk of free fall to be non-existent. They consist of two pulleys, one that is placed in the engine room and another one vertically aligned with the previous one in the elevator shaft. Through these two pulleys extends a cable of steel independent to the one of traction that accompanies always to the one of cabin, that does not intervene in the subjection nor the counterweight.
If the normal speed of the cab is exceeded, this cable will drive the parachute system, when the top pulley of the limiter stops.
Other Global Security Systems
So that the blood does not reach the river or, in this case, the lobby of the hotel as you can see in one of the most emblematic scenes of El Resplandor , the elevators incorporate many other security systems that we are going to go next. You will never see blood spurting out of an elevator unless you look at the scene of this masterful Stanley Kubrick movie.
The Shining (The Shining 1980)
Obstacle detection system
Nowadays, most of the elevators incorporate devices of detection of people and obstacles, so that their interior doors are opened automatically to avoid accidents. In addition, in the controls of the cabin can be found a button that serves to keep the cabin stopped and the interior door open, which can be activated in case of incidence.
Some lifts, especially those that are installed in large public buildings, incorporate a telephone inside the cabin, so that in case of an emergency, anyone staying inside can call the assistance number.
Visual and acoustic signals with maximum load
Depending on the type of elevator and the nominal capacity of your cabin, there are certain maximum loads that can support these devices. The legislation has a series of tables that set the guidelines to be followed by manufacturers, although it is established that the average weight of a person is in the 75 kilos.
The elevators incorporate visual and acoustic signals that warn of the excess load, so that if more people have entered than recommended and the weight is greater than the allowed, it will make a warning and will not go into operation until this situation has not been solved.
All these elements, in addition to others such as automatic cab re-leveling mechanisms, the double security system in the locks of the doors of each floor, systems of detection of the suspension loosening of the suspension cables or auxiliary mechanisms of rescue make that the Safety of a lift is maximum.
Therefore, it is important to be calm and confident that all those fictitious cases that we mentioned earlier, indeed, only happen in the movies.
Nevertheless, many people continue to avoid climbing an elevator. There are studies that show that around 10% of the population in Spain suffers or has suffered at times an episode of transient mental agitation. Situations of sudden and fleeting stress associated with certain stimuli that are negative. One of these stimuli may be precisely climbing an elevator. The panic to be trapped is irrational, so in this case, although it is demonstrated that the safety in the elevators is a guarantee, no argument will have enough weight to change the opinion of a person who suffers from this type of phobia.
New security regulations in 2017
The rules EN 81-20 / 50, which ensure compliance with the new directive 2014/33 / EU, which regulates the safety of users of lifts and elevators, entered into force on 20 April. This new legislation incorporates a series of mandatory guidelines such as increased cabin capacity, protection against uncontrolled movements in the elevator shaft or greater illumination. As of August 31, all lifts will have to apply this new regulations in their manufacture and installation.
Therefore, the security systems in the elevators will be more sophisticated and will increase the guarantees, so that it will be even more complicated to occur such incidents as the free fall, that, in this way, is completely banished for the fiction.