Home elevators are a convenient way to provide easier access to other floors, especially when you’re moving items from one level to another. Elevators are also a valuable piece of mobility equipment that provides a practical solution for elderly residents or those with a physical disability, so safety is a major concern. Are they safe? High-quality home elevators are equipped with features to prevent injury and must follow strict regulations to ensure the safety of you, your family, and your guests.
Elevator Safety Reports
There have been several reports about elevator accidents that resulted in permanent injuries, including brain or spinal damage from being pinned inside an elevator. In 2014, a report of deaths during the previous seven to eight years listed at least nine fatalities involving children and swing door elevators installed in commercial and residential structures around the United States. Carriage misalignment with floors, elevator door malfunctions, and passenger safety vulnerabilities have also been cited as safety issues.
Top Safety Concerns
Two of the major fears associated with elevators are getting stuck in an elevator and an elevator free falling and plunging to the bottom. New safety features minimize or even eliminate the risk of injury caused by these events.
Manufacturers have overcome the risk of free-falling with the introduction of spring-loaded brakes that bring the elevator to rest safely and quickly. Today’s home elevators are equipped with several types of protection, depending on the particular drive system installed. These include slack-cable safety devices and over-speed detectors.
The more probable risk is getting stuck in a home elevator. You can minimize this problem by dealing with an experienced elevator and lift contractor. The right contractor is one that provides emergency home elevator service round-the-clock and whose place of business is within easy driving distance from your home. You need to ensure that your elevator contractor employs professionals who know their job and can provide immediate service when you need it. Make sure your home elevator has a working phone and a qualified installer who truly understands the importance of emergency service.
Modern Safety Features
To avoid accidents involving home elevators, it’s crucial to be aware of indispensable safety features available in residential elevators and to purchase equipment that has these vital advancements. Major manufacturers provide affordable home elevators with advanced safety features suitable for various indoor and outdoor transportation needs. These features include:
- Door Interlock System: Meant for the doors opening into the elevator shaft, these systems prevent the access door at each landing from being opened if the cab isn’t currently at that specific landing zone.
- Emergency Alarm: This is a button located inside the elevator that can be activated in case of emergency to alert anyone nearby that you’re in the elevator and require assistance.
- Power Backup Facility: These devices are located inside the machine room and provide an uninterruptible power supply that automatically activates during a power failure to lower the cab to the first available floor for a safe exit.
- Landline Telephone: Located in a control box inside the elevator, an active landline telephone ensures you can call for help.
- One-Touch Screen Controls: These control panels take the place of conventional pushbuttons and are more user-friendly because they often have larger numbers and familiar icons for each floor.
- Cable Safety Devices: In the rare case that an elevator’s cables snap, these devices kick in to prevent the cab from plummeting to the bottom of the shaft.
- Battery-Operated (UPS) Emergency Lowering: During a power failure, a backup battery powers this device, which allows passengers to choose any floor going down and safely lowers them to this floor for a safe exit.
- Emergency Lighting: Designed to turn on in the event of a main power failure, emergency lighting systems illuminate the inside the cab, so you’re not stuck in total darkness while you wait for help to arrive.
- Hand-Crank Manual Lowering: In the event of a disruption in power, these devices are essential to ensure passengers in a home elevator can manually lower themselves all the way down to the bottom of the shaft.
- Motorized Braking: This safety feature places automatic braking systems near the top and the bottom of the elevator shaft, so if the cab moves too far either up or down, the motorized brake stops it.
- Lockable Control Panel: This safety feature prevents tampering with elevator controls.
- Elevator Door Interlocks: Unlike landing door interlock systems, elevator door interlocks prevent the elevator from operating unless the car gate is closed.
- Emergency Stop Switch: This is a button or switch located inside the cab that can stop an elevator in case of an emergency.
- Slack-Chain Brake System: This safety braking device is a fall arrest mechanism that stops and sustains the elevator, including the load it’s rated to carry if either of the hoisting cables become slack or breaks to prevent the elevator from falling.
- Safety Sensors: There are two main types of safety sensors: door sensors that prevent elevator doors from closing if an object is detected and pit sensors that disable elevator operation if anything is detected in the pit.
Residential Elevator Safety Campaign
Improper installation and lack of awareness of safety features are the top reasons for elevator injuries. Leaders from the residential elevator industry launched a public education campaign, homeSAFE (Safety Awareness for Elevators) in 2014 in an effort to increase safety and reduce preventable injuries. The campaign also aims to raise awareness about the safe installation, operation, and maintenance of home elevators.
There’s been an increase in the home elevator market due to an aging population and the lowered cost of installation, and the homeSAFE campaign makes elevator owners aware of critical safety criteria when installing or operating a home elevator. Vital measures include installation standards, essential regular maintenance, inspection requirements, and safety precautions, which are especially important in households with children or senior residents who may have access to a home elevator. The campaign website also educates homeowners on how to safely operate their elevators.
Home Elevator Manufacturers
Some of the leading elevator manufacturers in the industry include Cambridge Elevating, Federal Elevator, and Savaria. Each of these well-established manufacturers ensures its products maintain the highest safety standards, whether used at home or in a public building. By working with a knowledgeable dealer, you can enjoy impeccable standards of quality, uncompromising safety, and long-term service and reliability for the products you purchase to make your home fully accessible on every level.
Trust Our Trained Professionals
Since 1992, Day Elevator & Lift has been a trusted resource for accessibility equipment in West Hempstead, New York. We supply dependable, cost-effective products throughout New York and New Jersey, including home elevators with first-rate safety features. We offer a comprehensive inventory of residential and commercial elevators by top brands, including Cambridge Elevating, Garaventa Lift, Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators, Savaria, and Stiltz.
We’re fully licensed, bonded, and insured, and we pride ourselves on providing the best support after the sale to all our customers. Visit our showroom to view the numerous working elevators we have on display. Contact us at (800) 758-5438 and let one of our knowledgeable staff members tell you more about our extensive line of accessibility products, or request a free on-site evaluation today.