Students wary of getting stuck as elevator entrapments rise

The number of reported elevator entrapments doubled since last semester, according to incident reports documented by the Emerson College Police Department. Not all entrapments are reported to the ECPD.

ECPD received nine elevator entrapment reports this semester, according to the incident journals—five in September, two in October, and two in November. Over the course of the three months, one report occurred in 2 Boylston Place residence hall, one in Ansin Building, two in Walker Building, two in Tufte Performance and Production Center, and three in Paramount Center. No passengers were injured.

ECPD received a total of four entrapment reports last semester with no injuries.

According to ECPD Chief Robert Smith, if a student who reported an incident to his department extricated themselves from the elevator before the ECPD officer arrives on scene, the student’s name will not appear in their electronic record system. However, Smith said an ECPD officer will still write an incident report about the elevator entrapment call.

“The only reason an incident would not be in our records system would be if the incident was not reported to the ECPD,” Smith said.

Director of Facilities Management Joseph Knoll said he and his team conducted a daylong repair on one of the two elevators at the 18-floor 2 Boylston Place residence hall, on Nov. 4. Knoll said they replaced an electronic component in the elevator, and it went back into service on Nov. 5.

The two passenger elevators in the Tufte Performance and Production Center caused two entrapments over the past few weeks, according to Knoll, and both had all of their electronics replaced. Knoll said no further issues have occured.  

Erica Degen, a sophomore, said she experienced two elevator entrapments in the Walker Building this semester. However, ECPD did not have record of either entrapment Degen reported, according to Schiazza.

Smith said when someone presses the emergency call button in the elevators, it will dispatch to the ECPD.

“We will identify which floor the elevator was trapped,” Smith said. “ECPD will also notify the Facilities Management department for help.”

According to Degen, the passengers pressed the emergency button several times during her first entrapment, but no one responded.

“The button didn’t even light up,” Degen said.

After about seven minutes, the elevator passengers exited the elevator after the door opened by itself  on the first floor, according to Degen.

During her second elevator entrapment on Oct. 29, she said no one came to the rescue. After pressing the emergency call button, Degen said the dispatcher asked their whereabouts, but they received no response afterward. After about five minutes, Degen said the elevator began functioning and transported the passengers to the fifth floor.

“Our buildings are relatively new and renovated,” Smith said. “But one incident is too many.”

Freshman Reina Garcia said she could not reach the ground floor from the seventh floor of Paramount Center on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 29 when Facilities Management shut off both passenger elevators.

Garcia said she could not use the staircase at the time either since it would set off an alarm.

“I was stuck on my floor when heading for a volleyball game,” Garcia said.

An on-campus technician helped Garcia take the service elevator after 20 minutes of calling a resident assistant, according to Garcia.

According to Joseph Knoll, an outside company, Delta Beckwith Elevator Co., regulates and repairs elevators on campus.

The elevator company did not respond for comment.

During the day, an on-campus elevator technician from Delta Beckwith performs preventive maintenance and service on the elevators, Knoll said.

If an entrapment happens overnight or on the weekend, a technician from the company travels from off-campus to the scene in less than an hour, according to Smith.

Smith said ECPD will also contact the Boston Fire Department if the technician cannot solve the issue. According to the incident journal, the latest entrapment where ECPD notified Boston Fire Department happened on Feb. 8, 2018.

Degen said when an incident happens, the security guards in the building should also be notified.

“Imagine [the elevators] just dropping,” Degen said.

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