This is the translated version. The original text is in German.
Another fake news story proclaims: “Elevator crashes!” This is starting to get on my nerves now. Much like my expert colleagues, I never get tired of explaining that elevators can’t technically crash – yet the fear remains. There is even a term for it: elevator phobia. Some people are even afraid of suffocating in an elevator.
YouTube is full of crash stories flanked by well-placed life insurance advertisements. Great, now I really have confidence in these projectiles… The subject quickly becomes absurd when it comes to headlines such as “How to make it out of a falling elevator alive”. They might as well ask: “How do you make it out of a flying car alive?” As for suffocating, that’s a complete non-starter. Every elevator has ventilation slits. The bigger the car, the bigger or more plentiful the slits.
Annual inspection required
Elisha Graves Otis developed the safety device at the same time as the freight elevator in the middle of the 19th century, so the system is over 150 years old. It functions roughly like a safety belt: if you pull the belt out too quickly, it engages. Similarly, if the elevator moves down too quickly, it wedges itself on the guide rails. Let me reiterate: this is an entirely mechanical process.
Yes, there are around 100,000 elevators that have not been tested – but for two years now, it has been possible for anyone to spot the rotten apples. Elevators in Germany have to be inspected annually, and after each TÜV inspection, a sticker must be affixed in the car indicating the date of the next inspection. If that date has passed, the elevator has not been inspected. It’s that simple.
The safest means of transport
My colleagues immediately shut down a total of 1,965 elevators last year, with the TÜV Association reporting that the figure for the whole of Germany was 3,500. Still keen tot know which elevators you should not step into? My colleagues recommend looking for two things. Firstly, is there light in the elevator? Secondly, is the car floor flush with that of the entrance area? Feeling better? Here’s one final nugget of information: elevators in Germany are considered to be the safest means of transport.