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Pro Tips to Survive Being Trapped in an Elevator in Singapore

The Straits Times published a story on Tuesday (8 Mar) about a woman in China who starved to death after being trapped in a lift for a month. You must be thinking it’s insane, and it is! How does anyone get trapped in an elevator for 30 days? Did no one use the lift for a month?

Suffice to say, something as freaky as this would hardly ever happen in Singapore (although this happened recently). However, if you do find yourself stuck in a lift some time (touch wood!), here’s what you should do to survive.

1. Keep calm

Panicking will do you no good. Take a deep breath and acknowledge that you’re stuck, unfortunately. When modern lifts stop functioning, chances are, they’re NOT going to snap and send you plummeting to your doom. You are, however, at risk of running out of oxygen so stay calm.

2. Find light

If an elevator loses power, it might get pretty dark. Darkness does not sit well for most people and certainly doesn’t help with anxiety levels (hurhur). Find a light source. This is where a smartphone comes in handy.

3. Start pushing buttons (and hope something good happens)

With a light source, you can look at the elevator panel for any specific instructions on what to do or who to call. Most elevators are fitted with a bell to signal others you’re stuck, an intercom that allows you to speak with someone or a number you can call.

You may not get a mobile signal but if you happen to be in a building you frequent (such as your office building), you might just be able to connect to the WiFi and start yelling on Facebook about your situation. Be sure to include your address and lift number (if you can).

4. Try to peek outside

If there’s light shining through the gap, consider yourself lucky because that means the elevator has stopped near a floor. This would make it much easier for others to rescue you. If you find yourself between floors, DO NOT try to pry open the doors as the lift may suddenly move and you may find yourself more than just stuck – just saying – and DO NOT try to escape through the hatch Mission Impossible style either!

5. Be prepared to get comfortable

If it so happens that everyone has left the building for the day, start thinking about getting some rest or sleep. Panicking is futile when no one can hear you.

6. Think positive thoughts

Don’t be a negative nelly! Eliminate bad thoughts. If you need to distract yourself, this is a rather good moment to ponder about life. Also, the CCTV may still be recording and you don’t want to look silly for the camera, do you?

The truth about living in Singapore is that when incidents like this happen, they’ll be resolved quickly. After all, the efficiency in this country is a big reason why many of our readers decided to move here in the first place, isn’t it?


By Joshua Tan, March 2016

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