Anyone who has seen the 1997 Disney motion picture, Tower of Terror is familiar with that narrative of five people who enter an elevator (or lift, as the Brits are wont to call it) as they make their way up hotel only to disappear into thin air. Chances are therefore high that at one moment in time, you have borne an irrational fear of an elevator breaking or free falling.
The thought of accelerating downwards to the unknown without control is scaring enough to lend credence to heady tales of turning into a ghost in the middle of the freefall – as the movie depicted.
Did you know however that the possibility of actually falling this way is very rare? The millions of myths and legends about elevators and their safety notwithstanding.
It is for example known that many folks actually presume that elevators are only suspended in place by a single rope or tensile pulley system and that if something happened to this cord, the elevator cabin would promptly plunge into an abyss! This is not to be at all. Elevators are supported by multiple tested and well-oiled steel cables that individually have the capability to hold a whole car.
The one time when an elevator fall occurred due to a cable fault was way back in 1945 – before President Trump was even born! Then, a plane had crashed into the Empire State Building and interfered with the elevator chain.
Still, if you are feeling a bit jittery about elevators, a few tips that could help to save your life and probably a loved one’s if they ever found themselves in one such scenario are on offer;
1. Don’t Jump
There is a pretty common and wrong belief that what to do in free falling elevator is to take a leap in the air just a few seconds before you, or is it the lift lands, in an attempt to minimize impact.
Well, this could in theory work but we all know that it is not on daily that a well-trained astronaut who has been to the moon gets stuck in an elevator. You would have to have absolutely perfect timing and also be able to jump at the exact velocity the elevator is falling.
Quite invariably, what would happen is that you will first bash your head against the upper embankment and then come back to the floor to land badly like a plane in a crash. Obviously, the injuries will be worse.
This theory has been tested and proven to be fake by the MythBusters. Thus, even when you can feel more weight when you jump in a moving elevator, it cannot be of use if the lift has become unhinged.
2. Don’t Stand Straight
Standing up straight is not a wise option either if one is trapped in a rapidly descending elevator. Some people may try to maintain a standing position in a vain attempt to minimize injury but this actually has the opposite effect.
Your spine will pay the price for such a decision. Since you are about to experience the effect of a crushing weight, standing will transfer all this impact to your legs and spinal column.
The magnitude of gravity pushing down on your body is tenfold greater than normal.
Definitely, make sure you try and take a different position other than keeping upright during the fall. And it is no mean feat to trying to do this wrong thing. Compare it to something like jumping from a height only to land with bent legs
Some people’s natural instinct in the event of a being in a free-falling elevator could be to take a seat on the floor. However, if a lift has many people, things get kind of difficult.
In spite of the fact that your total load while sitting is less than that while standing, this position still applies disproportionate impact on your spine.
It is in fact better to try and lie down with the knees help up. By doing so, you’ll be able to protect you eyes and face from debris with your hands you will also be able to use you hands to protect the eyes and face from any debris.
This posture helps distribute the force of impact as the body area touching the ground increases and reduces the momentum from the fall.
4. Bending Legs
You might think that bending your legs or bracing yourself could help protect you from impact.
But this is not the case though. The reason is that the amount of gravitational force that will be pushing down against your body will be so great that you won’t even be able to support your own weight.
Matter of fact, there will be so much force pushing down on your body that your head will prove too heavy for your neck and shoulders.
Therefore, holding onto the banister or tucking your legs is never going to help you too much in this situation. Luckily, an elevator falling is extremely rare!
5. Lay Down
The most effective way to posture during an elevator fall is to lie down flat on the ground, while facing up, if you’re are in the elevator alone.
This will properly distribute your weight and ensure that no sole part of the human form gets subjected to the greater impact than others.
It goes without saying that anyway you brace for an impact in a lift is sure to be very painful and injurious. If the paranoia is overwhelming though, the stairs would not be too bad an option. But then again, a tumble down a flight of stairs may not be too great either.
We are glad you’re now aware of the best tips for being trapped in a falling elevator. We hope you’ll never get to use any of them!
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