South Yorkshire firefighters appeal after 63 people saved from trapped lift

Area Manager Phil Shillito for South Yorkshire Fire Service. Pic.''Ross Parry/ Tom Maddick

Area Manager Phil Shillito for South Yorkshire Fire Service. Pic.''Ross Parry/ Tom Maddick

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South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is calling on building owners to do more to stop people automatically calling 999 to release them from lifts, after revealing it carried out 63 lift releases last year.

While the fire service says it will always attend genuine emergencies where people are shut in lifts and when other means of rescue are not available, they are not the appropriate agency to routinely release people from lifts.

It is the responsibility of the lift owner or operator to make suitable arrangements for lift maintenance and the safe release of anyone shut in their lifts.

Phil Shillito, head of prevention and protection for the South Yorkshire brigade, said: “It’s another aspect of fire service work people probably aren’t aware of. But as well as being time consuming for the fire service to deal with, being trapped in a lift can be frightening and uncomfortable which is why we’re calling on building owners to take responsibility and sort the problem out.

“Firefighters will always attend a call out where it is a real emergency but in many of these cases it should be up to the person in charge of the building whose lift has broken down, to fix the problem.”

Suitable arrangements for the routine release of people shut in lifts include providing a lift release service through a lift engineering company and training staff to release people who are shut in a lift.

Building owners could also ensure there are suitable communications in lifts so a person shut in can raise the alarm.