How to Escape a Stranded Lift

Most of the blogs that we post are written from the perspective of lift managers or owners, so we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the passengers’ experience. Thankfully, most of the passengers we meet are experiencing trouble-free journeys in our high quality passenger or platform lifts. Attending lift breakdowns, however, remind us how scary being trapped in a lift can be for many people.

The lurch of a lift coming to an unexpected stop can trigger claustrophobic symptoms in passengers. These include difficulty with breathing, dry mouth, panic and a fast heartbeat. For anyone who knows they’re likely to respond in this way, we thought it was important to give a list of practical actions you can take in order to let people know what’s happened, and initiate lift recovery.

1. Resist Assuming the Worst

If your anxiety is triggered by a lift breakdown, let any other people in the lift with you know what’s happening to you, and name the symptoms you’re feeling. Slow down your breathing by counting in and out, and take a drink of water if possible. Try an alternative floor button. If nothing happens, try the ‘door open’ button. If none of these work, move on to the next step.

2. Let People Know What’s Happening

Every lift will have an alarm button, which is marked by a bell. The next thing you should do is to sound the alarm. There should also be a means of contacting reception via an intercom. If the electricity is off, use your phone as a source of light, and call either the reception or emergency services to let them know your situation.


If you own or manage a lift, and you would like to find out more about our bespoke maintenance packages that include emergency breakdown, call us today on 01525 601099.


3. Check Whether You’ve Landed on a Floor

Look at the gap between the doors. If you can see light you will have landed on a floor. This can be very re-assuring, as you know that getting out of the lift will be quick once help arrives. Don’t try to force the doors. Trying to escape a stranded lift can put you in more danger. Just wait until someone arrives, or you’re contacted via the intercom, or by phone. If you haven’t been able to speak to anyone, and you can see activity beyond the door, you could call out to attract attention.

4. Accept That You May Need to be Patient

When a lift breaks down, the lift manager will need to either call their lift maintenance company, or find an emergency lift breakdown service. If there’s already a service plan in place, you can expect action within the hour. Once you’ve taken action to alert people to you situation, there’s no other action you can take. It’s important at this stage to accept you’ll need to wait for a while. Maintain contact with someone on the other side of the lift door, if possible.

Tower Lifts Provides Exemplary Emergency Lift Breakdown Response

We have seen how terrified passengers can become if trapped in a lift, even if it’s for a relatively short period of time. We always prioritise lift breakdown calls, and our dedicated lift breakdown rapid response team is trained to deal with traumatised passengers, as well as being skilled engineers. Nine times out of ten, we arrive before passengers become seriously scared, and we’re able to reassure and rescue them quickly and efficiently.


Tower Lifts carry out design and installation on a varied range of lifts throughout the UK including:

Domestic Lifts Food Lifts Bespoke Platform Lifts Service Lifts Platform Lifts Goods Lifts Scenic LiftsHeavy Duty / Car LiftsPassenger LiftsDumbwaiter LiftsMRL Lifts Fire liftsResidential Lifts low-Headroom Lifts