Top 5 Things to Do When Stuck in a Lift


Ever had the odious experience of getting stuck in a lift? Most of us have, and our reactions – in hindsight or reminiscence – will be largely negative. All of us remember being frustrated, angry, frightened, even downright abusive during one of these incidents. But that’s for the more balanced of us – some people also tend to panic, or try to do other things that cause them more harm than if they stay put. Here’s an interesting list of the top 10 things to do when stuck in a lift. It’s guaranteed to render even this very unpleasant of experiences rather pleasurable. And profitable.

Things to Do When Stuck in a Lift
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Stay calm

Being suspended several hundred feet above the ground in a small 6’x6’ metal box, most often with the lights and air conditioning off, is not a happy experience. We first tell ourselves that the power will soon resume, or that someone will soon come to take us out. But as time goes by and nothing happens, we start feeling frustrated. Then we start getting angry, and finally we panic. Some of us bang on the walls. Others shout and rant, and try to force open the doors. Claustrophobia induced panic takes over. Some of us faint. This is the time to look out for. Stay cool. Getting stuck in a lift for a while, even half an hour, is not the end of the world. People have lived in dank cellars and dark, wet, closed spaces for months or even years when it has been necessary. Be positive, and ensure that your panic does not get to your fellow sufferers.

Call for help

All lifts have a phone or intercom system to call for help. If nothing, it will make a loud squawk, hopefully loud enough for the lift operator to hear. Press the button, or talk into the phone. Don’t yell or scream – your negative feeling will get the others edgy. Talk calmly, explain your position, and provide information such as where you’re stuck, and the number of people in the lift with you. Useful, if rescue is going to take some time coming.

Pack a mobile phone? Call up important people, then clear your inbox

If you have a mobile phone, call up home and your boss, or the people you were to meet, and inform them of the situation. Don’t make it sound too light, or too heavy. Tell them you’ll keep them updated. And remember, there might be other people there with you who need to make similar calls but have no mobiles, so offer your mobile to any such people. This is a great time to be a little giving. It’ll also ease the tension in the lift – talking to a loved one or simply talking to another person about their situation will help reduce the claustrophobia. Once that’s done, if there are any important things you’ve been putting off for want of time, this is the right time to start dealing with those pending items on your to do list. Tick them off one by one.

Talk to that special person

Help hasn’t still arrived. Next, call up that special person you’ve been wanting to talk to, and tell him or her your predicament. Tell that person that if you ever came out of this alive, you’d like to have dinner – or a movie, maybe – with him or her. Make it light, and who knows, a romance might blossom! And if the person happens to be your spouse, the bonding will only get stronger. Talk to the kids, if you have any. Tell them you love them. But don’t make it sound like you’re bidding adieu. It should sound like what it is – spending quality time with quality people.

Start a conversation

No mobile? One way to stay cool and keep others calm is to start a conversation. Don’t force a topic – if there’re enough people in the lift, one or two wouldn’t mind having a chat. But keep the subject away from stuck lifts or other disasters. Think of something humorous – not offensive – to say, but don’t hog the conversation. Let others also join in. But keep them talking, keep them humored.


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