If you have a fear of elevators, you are not alone. This common fear is closely related to agoraphobia which affects an estimated 1.8 million American adults. The fear of elevators is believed to be a combination of agoraphobia (the fear of crowds) and claustrophobia (the fear of enclosed spaces). People with acrophobia (a fear or heights) or other social phobias may also experience discomfort when riding an elevator. More likely than not, your fear that the elevator car will suddenly crash to the bottom of the shaft also plays into your fears. If your fear of elevators is based on faulty beliefs, learning how safe elevators really are may alleviate your concerns and allow you to ride in comfort.
Elevators are Safer Than the Stairs
As hard as it may be for you to believe, taking the elevator is actually safer than taking the stairs. According to Live Science, 27 people die each year in the United States from elevator accidents, while 1,600 die each year from falling down stairs. One of the reasons that elevators are so safe is that they must be inspected and maintained regularly. While regulations vary depending on the state you reside in, and whether the elevator if public or private, many states, like Florida, require an annual inspection of public elevators. Regular maintenance throughout the year keeps elevators operating safely and efficiently. So the next time you are tempted to take the stairs to avoid the elevator, remember you are less likely to be injured by a ride in the elevator than you are if you take the stairs..
The Falling Elevator Myth
Elevator accidents are the stuff horror movies are made of, but they simply aren't accurate. While a cable could break on the elevator, it wouldn't cause the elevator car to crash. According to Natalie Wolchover from Live Science, elevators actually have four to eight times as many cables as they need to support the weight of a loaded elevator and hold the elevator securely in place should it stall. In addition, elevators have special magnetic brakes that engage to stop the car and keep it from moving. Both the cables and the brakes are inspected regularly by a trained professionals.
Running Out of Air
Contrary to popular belief, even if the unthinkable happens and you get trapped in the elevator, you won't run out of air to breathe. According to Survive-O-Pedia, elevators are not airtight. Some elevators also have ventilation holes in the sides, but even without them plenty of air leaks in around the cracks in the doors. If you lose electricity and the fans stop, you will still get oxygen from the elevator shaft. Although the air may get stale inside a crowded elevator, you are in no danger of running out of oxygen.
Doors Opening Between Floors
Some people worry that the elevator will accidentally stop between floors and open the doors. This simply doesn't happen. The elevator door does not open until it arrives at a floor. According to Lins Elevator Service, a mechanism attached to the car engages when the car arrives at a floor and forces both the doors to the car and the doors to the floor to open at the same time. The doors cannot accidentally open on their own.
While the thought of riding the elevator may fill you with dread, your fears are unfounded. Americans take 18 billion trips on an elevator each year, explains Live Science. Thanks to the work of inspectors and repairmen who keep them safe, elevators are a convenience that save both time and effort. So, the next time you get the jitters as you step aboard, take a moment to remind yourself that you have nothing to fear. For more information, check with maintenance services from sites like http://www.capitalelevatorservice.com to put your fears to rest.