A modern day urban legend asserts that it is possible to survive inside a crashing elevator. This would require the person in question be standing near one of its walls when the doors close and they’re dropped down, falling at terminal velocity for extended periods of time without being crushed or having their limbs severed. Experts say there are no credible reports supporting these claims but none have been disproved either – which has led many people looking into this phenomenon as an interesting fact about human physiology: how can we survive such extreme conditions?
If you are in an elevator that is falling and the doors are about to close, jumping will not save your life. If you want to survive inside a plummeting elevator, you should brace yourself for impact by holding onto something sturdy.
Falling to your death in a steel box sounds like a danger you’d rather avoid, particularly when the alternative is a few flights of stairs. Fortunately, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission say that elevator accidents are very uncommon, and that elevator maintenance specialists are more likely to be involved in an accident than those just riding between floors. Even yet, the prospect of an elevator cable breaking and sending you on a bizarre amusement ride, no matter how unlikely, is enough to make you memorize a few survival tactics.
- If a handrail is available, use it to brace yourself against the wall while keeping your knees bent to cushion the impact.
- If there isn’t a railing, lay on your back on the elevator floor, your arms shielding your head and face. Spreading out your body on the ground reduces the total impact force on any one portion of your body.
- When the elevator has come to a complete halt, press the emergency call button or beat on the door and yell for assistance.
- If you become trapped, try prying open the door with a tiny piece of metal. Do not attempt to exit the elevator from the top, where electrical equipment puts you at danger of electrocution.
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Ted Slampyak created the illustration.
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