As most who have ridden some kind of elevator in their lives will be well aware, standard elevators come with a variety of controls, indicators and buttons that define their operations. For anyone who has an elevator in their residence or a commercial building where they spend lots of time, knowing the basics on these controls and how they work is important.

At A+ Elevators & Lifts, we’re proud to offer a huge range of elevators and related lift products to clients throughout Salt Lake City and other areas, from residential lifts to commercial LULA elevators and many other options in between. What are some of the most common elevator control, button and indicator components found on various elevator systems today, and which should you be aware of for safety purposes? Here’s a primer.

Hall Indicators

Also referred to as position indicators or hall lanterns, these indicators are placed in hallways outside of an elevator and show the current position (and direction) in which the car is moving. They’re often used alongside automatic doors, and establish much safer access for people with mobility issues.

For nearly all modern elevators, hall indicators will be accompanied by vocal signals that can be heard within the elevator car itself. These audible indicators are meant to be used as a safety measure, alerting passengers of the direction in which the car is moving and whether or not it will soon stop at another floor. They’re also helpful to the deaf or anyone hard of hearing, or for anyone who might be inebriated or otherwise impaired.

Hall indicators in public areas have a few basic rules and requirements for their placement:

  • Indicators must be mounted at least 72 inches off the floor
  • Arrows for hall indicators must be at least 2.5 inches tall
  • Arrows for hall indicators must be visible from the area where call buttons are located

Hall Call Buttons

In addition, hallways featuring elevators also contain one or more call buttons. These buttons are placed in hallways where the elevator is located, and are used to alert people inside the car of a potential need to stop. For anyone who’s ever visited an older building with elevators that don’t have automatic stops, you’ll already be familiar with these components.

Car Controls

Once you step inside an elevator from any hallway, there will be several different potential controls or buttons. These may vary significantly depending on the elevator being used and its specifications, but a few standard elements are generally present:

  • Floor selection buttons: While some elevators have automatic stops, it’s still necessary to indicate the desired floor before arriving at that level. Most systems today feature control buttons for this purpose. These buttons will be labeled with the desired floor, with lobbies typically labeled “L” and basements typically labeled “B.”
  • Door open button: If you encounter one of these components, it’s meant to be pressed when the elevator is about to close its doors on you. This can prevent potentially painful injuries to your fingers, toes or other extremities. This button is not meant to be pressed while the elevator travels between floors.
  • Door close button: For elevators that stop on multiple floors, the door close button allows you to close the door manually if it’s sitting open for longer than a few seconds.
  • Door hold button: Also called a door delay button, this is a button sometimes found in hotels or other commercial buildings that allow people to load baggage or other items into the elevator before closing the door.

Some elevators may contain several additional buttons or controls. This will depend on the specifics of the system.

Emergency or Safety Controls or Indicators

In addition, elevators contain a few vital emergency or safety features that all occupants should be aware of if they’re using them. These will sometimes be locked in a secure panel, depending on the setting, but may also sit out for anyone to press. They’ll typically be found above or below floor selection buttons.

Some examples of emergency buttons include:

  • Emergency telephone: An internal phone system used for contacting anyone on the car’s staff or in an outside dispatch center. There may be more than one of these on larger elevators, but they will always be labeled with the word “emergency” somewhere near them.
  • Emergency alarm: A loud siren-like device that can be used to alert others in the area of danger or to signal staff at the other end of the line that there’s an emergency situation.
  • Emergency lighting: May be found near or on an emergency telephone system, these are typically red lights meant to activate when power is lost by initiating a backup electrical generator within the car.

If you happen to be in an elevator during any kind of safety risk or emergency, remember to stay calm and assess your resources. Find a light source first, then utilize the telephone to call for help.

If you are not able to use the telephone, try shouting for help to signal someone near you, but keep an eye on your surroundings in case of any threat. It’s also important to note that if there is a fire or other significant risk, it may be necessary to evacuate the car immediately. When this happens, leave in an orderly fashion, and provide assistance to any older or younger people who may require it.

For more on the basic controls, buttons and indicators found in elevator systems today, or to learn about any of our elevator or lift products for SLC and other clients, speak to the team at A+ Elevators & Lifts today.