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Old 12-13-2010, 05:56 PM   #1
Noah Body
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Forcing Open an Elevator Door

Smart folks,

Is it possible to force open an elevator door in the event a building loses power? This would be from OUTSIDE the elevator, not in the car itself. The target would be a freight elevator. (I'd go try it myself and see, but I'm sure security would be very anxious to see someone trying to force open a closed elevator door.)

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Old 12-13-2010, 06:02 PM   #2
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I'm not sure about this, but I believe they have a lock (like a small hole in the outside of the door) where someone with the right master key (a t-shaped device) can release an elevator door. The Nova TV program recently did a couple of specials on elevators. They're available on the PBS website. They might have something on this. I work with elevator manufacturers all the time, but I'm just interested in what size opening and rail support they need.
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:04 PM   #3
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Yes,

Elevator doors have special mechanisms that allow security and first responders to open elevator doors from the outside of the car. They have a couple of tools that disconnect the slide bar inside the door and then the doors can be opened.

There are two sets of doors. The inside door that is part of the cab, and the outer door on each floor. They would open the outer door first to see where the elevator car is. It might not be aligned with the floor it is opened on. Once they are sure where the elevator cab is, they then can either open the inner door or climb down on top of the cab and open a hatch. (Taking passengers out through a top hatch is a last resort as its difficult and can be dangerous.)

Hope this helps Noah...
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:02 PM   #4
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I just need the outer door opened, and they do have the key for it... through the wonders of rapid rewrite, of course.

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Old 12-13-2010, 08:04 PM   #5
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It depends on the elevator. Older freight elevators were designed to opened at will, and many newer ones are also easy to open. Passenger elevators are often more difficult.
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:34 PM   #6
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I'd imagine you could do it with a cunning mix of brawn, brute-strength and violence.

But, slightly off topic, I've never, ever, been in an elevator with an escape hatch on the roof.
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:39 PM   #7
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The emergency key is usually located in a glass fronted box next to the elevator on the ground floor. (In case of emergency break glass for Key)
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whacko View Post
I'd imagine you could do it with a cunning mix of brawn, brute-strength and violence.

But, slightly off topic, I've never, ever, been in an elevator with an escape hatch on the roof.
Like I said in the OP, folks aren't in the elevator.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJK View Post
The emergency key is usually located in a glass fronted box next to the elevator on the ground floor. (In case of emergency break glass for Key)
No good, lobby is unobtainable. But I rewrote to have the maintenance guy have a key on him.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah Body View Post
Like I said in the OP, folks aren't in the elevator.
Like I said, slightly off topic...
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:25 AM   #11
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Although designs differ greatly, it's actually easier to open many elevator doors when power is out. Many elevators have a motor holding the doors shut, when the power goes out, you can force the doors open, but not before.
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