The Types of Emergency Elevator Phones

Woman in elevator with two way monitoring

Since 1976, every building with elevators has had to provide emergency elevator phones. Twenty-four-seven monitoring enhances elevator safety, protects passengers’ peace of mind, and helps building owners avoid lawsuits.

You may have heard about different types of elevator phone systems, like POTS, VoIP, and cellular. Today, two-way video monitoring is quickly gaining headway in elevators. Learn more about different types of elevator emergency call setups.

Plain-Old Telephone Service (POTS)

Many buildings still use landline phones, a.k.a. POTS, for their reliability and stability. A landline will keep working during a power outage, which is a big advantage for an elevator emergency call system. However, for better or worse, landlines are disappearing, and most new buildings use other types of phone technology for elevator monitoring.

Voice-over-IP (VoIP)

VoIP is a convenient and affordable method for taking calls via the Internet. However, VoIP requires a solid power supply and a reliable Internet connection, making this technology vulnerable in emergencies.


As you probably know, cell phones don’t work well in elevators because of the elevator system’s concrete and metal construction. Cellular emergency elevator phones overcome this obstacle by using an external transceiver that communicates with the in-elevator cellular unit. This type of elevator phone needs a steady power source with a solid backup to stay reliable.

Elevator Video Monitoring

The future of elevator emergency response belongs to video monitoring. The current ASME safety codes require new elevator systems to include two-way video communication systems with text options.

Video phones in elevators eliminate many of the shortcomings of standard voice-only phones. For instance, a video call system with text:

  • Makes emergency calls possible for passengers who are deaf, struggle with a hearing impairment, or can’t communicate verbally for any reason
  • Facilitates more intuitive and efficient communication in emergencies
  • Allows the emergency operator to see what’s happening in the elevator car
  • Enables the operator to confirm that there’s a person stuck in an elevator, even if the passenger never communicated beyond pressing the emergency button

Eventually, following the new elevator code, all buildings nationwide will switch to the new emergency call system.

Choosing the Right Emergency Phone System for Your Building

So, do your elevators need a two-way video call system for emergencies, or is a traditional voice-only setup enough? This depends on which set of ASME guidelines your state follows.
Generally, if you’re adding a new elevator system to your building or making major changes to your existing system, you’ll likely need to transition to a two-way video emergency call system with text. Switching to an upgraded emergency call system will also help you make your elevators safe, stay ahead of code, and avoid liability.

Our team at Elevate Monitoring can help you choose the right monitoring system and ensure your emergency elevator phones are reliable and code compliant.

Upgrade Your Emergency Response Solutions With Elevate Monitoring

Unsure what type of emergency elevator phones your building needs? Call the Elevate Monitoring team at 877-990-9191 or contact us online for a quick, reliable consultation.

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