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Russia’s Elevator Rescue Teams

Stuck in ElevatorIf you’ve ever ridden in an elevator, you have likely considered what would happen if your cabin decided to stall and remain stopped between floors. This type of situation is luckily only a worry for most, seeing as elevators have a number of safety measures in place – and if a building manager is following procedure – and routine inspection / maintenance is completed at least annually. However, there are still times when elevators do get stuck, leaving passengers in a precarious position. What actually happens when you pick up that red emergency phone?

If you’re in Moscow, Russia, you will likely speak with a member of an “elevator rescue team,” as discussed in a recent article of The New Yorker. Apparently there is a need, just based on the statistics regarding elevators in Russia:

“Moscow has a lot of elevators—upward of a hundred and twenty thousand, which is more than twice as many as New York City. Many are old—every fifth elevator in the Russian capital has exceeded its lifespan. [D]epending on whom you ask, anywhere from an estimated hundred and twenty thousand to more than two hundred thousand people get stuck in a Moscow elevator each year.”

When you consider that Chicago only has about 100 such incidents annually, the article says, Russia absolutely needs special teams trained to rescue those stuck in elevators. A company called Moslift is actually in charge or roughly half of Moscow’s elevators and deals with stalled elevators like train operators or air traffic controllers:

“Three dispatchers sat at their desks taking calls as data blinked from the screens. An address popped up, highlighted in red: someone had just gotten trapped. Every elevator in Moscow is supposed to be equipped with a button to connect passengers with the responsible company’s dispatchers.”

These buttons – available in every modern elevator and retrofitted into older ones – don’t always work, so many of Moscow’s elevator travelers keep the Moslift phone number stored on their cell phones. Have you ever been trapped in an elevator? What did you do about it?


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