Is Your Elevator Safe and Compliant?
If your elevator emergency communications system is not working properly, you’re calling up a whole lot of liability. Consider these rules of thumb:
Elevators do not have to have individual dedicated phone lines to be code compliant. Line sharing works, is cost effective and is code compliant if done properly. All phones will party line together, enabling simultaneous two-way communication between each elevator cab and monitoring station. As each phone is activated, it sends an identifying signal, allowing operators to locate each caller and call back into the elevator if need be, as required by ADA.
Any elevator phone within buildings that have been built or renovated after July 1994 must meet all ADA requirements. Additional codes that elevator phones may be required to meet (according to state) include ASME Codes and IBC Codes. Elevator communication systems that fail to meet these codes are not considered safety compliant.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that elevator telephones be accessible to persons with disabilities. If you rely on the passenger to tell you where they are, your process potentially discriminates against hearing- or speech-impaired persons. You must rely on other means—voice location message recording or Caller ID—that does not rely on the entrapped passenger communicating with your authorized personnel.
Here’s how to test to ensure elevators are compliant:
Activate at least two elevator phones at approximately the same time. Test that each phone in use at the same time is able to carry on a two-way conversation with an emergency operator(s). The phones cannot be considered code compliant and therefore fail the test if: only one or none of the calls go through; one call connects but is disconnected when the second phone is activated; the phones will not dial out; or the calls can be completed but the parties cannot hear each other.
Ask the operator to identify your location and cab numbers, as required by ASME. If the operator cannot ID the elevator, the test is failed.
Test the on-site emergency responder’s phone. ASME requires that emergency personnel be able to call directly back to the elevators without “intentional delay,” so routing through a switchboard or an auto-attendant is not an option. Emergency responder phones are generally located at a guard station on the main egress level or in the fire control room. If the elevator phones cannot be called back directly, the final portion of the test is failed.
Kings III Emergency Communications is the nation's only full-service provider of emergency communication solutions, delivering maintenance and monitoring services for more than 40,000 emergency phones throughout the United States and Canada. For more info on our Bisnow partner, click here.