Building Safety: Elevator Phones and Two-Way Communication

Office Building Lobby

With some elevators traveling 50 stories or more, elevator emergency phones are indispensable. No matter how reliable your elevators are, you never know when one could break down while riders are on board. Medical emergencies can happen at any time, too, so passengers need a quick, foolproof way to call for help immediately.

Below, you’ll learn more about elevator phones and ASME requirements for communications systems.

What Are Elevator Emergency Phones, and How Do They Work?

Elevator emergency phones allow passengers to contact personnel if something goes wrong. Because cell phones don’t always work when trapped in an elevator, riders need a reliable system for contacting staff in case of an emergency.

To reach personnel, a rider simply presses the emergency button. Dialing a number is unnecessary, as the connection happens automatically.

Depending on your setup, riders can contact onsite staff or an offsite answering service. The operators should be capable of sending maintenance personnel or emergency rescue workers to the elevator as soon as possible.

Elevator Emergency Phone Requirements

Per ASME Elevator Code requirements, you can’t throw any old phone system into your elevator and call it a day. The latest revisions to the ASME code require your system to employ two-way communication. When personnel call into the elevator, the system must connect automatically.

The system must also relay the location of the elevator to personnel. That’s because you can’t rely on riders to tell you where they are in the middle of an emergency.

Your system needs a backup solution for when the power goes out. It must also have a video feed that lets personnel view all passengers in the car at any time.

Elevator phones must be disability friendly as well. Riders should be able to identify the elevator emergency button by sight or touch. You can’t place this button any higher than 48 inches from the floor of the car.

Does Your Elevator Monitoring System Need a POTS (Copper) Phone Line?

Many building owners think POTS lines are more reliable than VoIP (Voice Over IP) lines, but this isn’t always the case. Copper POTS lines are prone to degradation, especially since quite a few existing lines could be up to 150 years old.

Local fire codes once required elevator phones to run on POTS lines; however, many of these codes have been amended to accommodate VoIP solutions.

One benefit of VoIP lines is that they’re generally cheaper than the copper type. You could save about 35% on the cost of a VoIP line compared to a copper one.

Bring Your Elevators Up to Code With Elevate Monitoring

Not sure whether your elevator phones and monitoring system meet the current ASME code? The revisions can be confusing, and digging through a 500-page code manual takes time you probably don’t have.

Our experts at Elevate Monitoring will be happy to discuss the elevator phone code to help you know whether your building complies. Reach out to us at 1-877-990-9191 today.

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