Elevator Safety

Blue and white symbol with two figures in a box with two arrows pointing up and down.

TWU has elevators in many buildings on campus and, as a rule, they are a very safe way to move between floors. However, there are a number of simple rules that will ensure your safety when using an elevator. Below is a list of those rules, a brief description of the two main types of elevators, guidelines to follow when requesting service from Facilities Management & Construction for a TWU elevator, and common elevator myths.

Elevator Safety Rules

When you approach an elevator:

  • Know your destination. Push the elevator call button for the direction you want to go.
  • Stand aside to allow other passengers to exit.
  • Wait for the next car if the elevator is full.
  • Take the stairs if there is a fire.
  • Do not try to stop a closing door. Wait for the next elevator.

When you enter and leave an elevator:

  • Enter and exit carefully. Step up or down if the elevator floor and hall floor are not level.
  • Hold children firmly.
  • Stand clear of the doors, and keep clothes and other items away from the opening.
  • Push and hold the DOOR OPEN button if the doors need to be held open, or ask someone to push the button for you.

When riding on the elevator:

  • Stand next to the elevator wall.
  • Hold the handrail, if available.
  • Pay attention to the floor indications.
  • If the doors do not open when the elevator stops, push the DOOR OPEN button.

What to Do in the Event of a Delay:

  • Never try and rescue someone from a stopped elevator. Only TWU employees who have received specialized training shall perform such work if it is required.
  • Have patience, please. You are safe and there is plenty of air. Try to relax and wait for help.
  • Do not force open the elevator doors. Do not attempt to leave the elevator.
  • Use the intercom/phone to contact TWU DPS. Press the intercom button and you will be connected directly to DPS.
  • Trained TWU employees should follow the Elevator Rescue Procedure.

Types of Elevators

  • Hydraulic Elevator (generally in buildings of 2-5 floors): Moves the elevator car by pumping oil in and out of a steel cylinder, similar to the auto lifts in a car repair shop.
  • Traction Elevator (usually in buildings with more than 5 floors, and some new buildings with only a few floors): An electric motor moves the enclosed car and a counterweight between steel tracks. This car is suspended by a series of steel cables wrapped around a rotating drive which makes the car move up and down. Any single cable can support many times the weight of a fully-loaded car.
Three images of the keyed control switches in elevators, including the fire service switch and the independent switch.

Requesting Elevator Service

  • Report any unusual operation (noises, motions, etc.) to Facilities Management at 940-898-3137 or via the online work request form.
  • If the elevator is not responding when the lobby buttons are pushed, check to make sure someone has not switched the Run/Stop switch to "Stop", or turned Independent Service "On" before requesting service from Facilities Management (see image above).
  • Note that the elevator switch keys may be removed from the switch after changing the position of the switch, so check the position of the key slot in the switch to determine if it has been moved from its normal setting.

Elevator Myths & Fears

MYTH: Many people believe elevators are held up by only one rope that can break, leaving passengers trapped in a falling car.

TRUTH: Elevators are supported by multiple steel cables. Each cable alone can support a fully-loaded car.


MYTH: Some people believe they have been in an elevator where the elevator car fell several floors and then "caught itself".

TRUTH: This is a common misperception, but does not actually occur. Elevator experts believe people may think this happened because they 1) got on an elevator going in a different direction than expected, or 2) saw the elevator floor indicator lights flash by quickly, which gave the visual impression of falling.


MYTH: Some people believe the hall doors will open when an elevator is not there.

TRUTH: The truth is that the elevator car controls whether the hall doors open. If the car is not at the landing, the hall doors can't open because their opening can only be triggered by the arriving car engaging an unlocking device after the elevator has stopped at the landing.


MYTH: Some people believe that if an elevator is stuck between floors, they are in danger of falling and should try to get out.

TRUTH: Absolutely not! Leaving the car on your own could result in injury. Elevator cars are designed as "safe rooms". The safest place is inside the car. Use the intercom to contact TWU DPS and wait for help. Leave the car only with the assistance of professional rescuers.


MYTH: Pushing the CALL button repeatedly will make the elevator appear faster.

TRUTH: The call is registered just once; movement is in response to the elevator controllers.


MYTH: Pushing the DOOR CLOSE button closes the doors faster.

TRUTH: It may cause the doors to close sooner, but not faster. However, if a buzzer sounds, the doors may close slower; it is important to get out of the doorway as quickly as possible. 

Page last updated 8:44 AM, May 8, 2023