An elevator is a platform, either enclosed or open, designed to lift freight to higher floors inside a building. Elevators tend to be a uniform element of any tall residential or commercial building, and have even made their way into homes.
But since elevators are a vehicle of the masses, they are automatically prone to accidents, some of which can be gruesome. This raises the question: How dangerous are they? The answer might surprise you. As it turns out, elevators are actually safer than stairs!
Stairs vs. Elevators – Risk Statistics
In the US, elevators make 18 billion passenger-filled trips every year, as per ConsumerWatch.com. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission projects that all those yearly elevator malfunctions lead to around 27 deaths on average. Not surprisingly, a majority of people at risk are the mechanics whose job is to fix those faulty elevators. As calculated by the LA Times, elevator fatality rate rounds of to 0.00000015% per trip in general. This percentage is even lower when it comes to the general public.
On the other hand, approximately 1,600 people succumb to death or debilitating injuries after falling down the stairs, as per data collected from the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics!
What About Home Elevators?
Home elevator installations are no longer exclusive to luxurious residences owing to the availability of much more cost-friendly options. As per the National Association of Home Builders, around 12% of current or potential homebuyers considered residential elevators an essential or desirable feature, up from 8% in 2004. Despite its growing popularity, there are certain myths and misconceptions about a home elevator installation that prevents a lot of homeowners to avail this facility. Here we will be looking at 5 of those myths.
1. Home Elevators Aren’t Safe Enough
A lot of people are under the impression that home elevators, and even elevators in general, are only held up by a single rope or cable that can snap anytime and leave passengers badly injured or worse! This is not true. Home elevators are actually supported by multiple strong steel cables, where each cable has the capacity to support a fully-loaded car. There has only been a single documented elevator free-fall incident that happened in the 1940s when a plane collided with the Empire State Building, thus damaging the cables of one of the elevators.
2. Over-Trafficking the Home Elevator Can Lead to Brake Failure
While overcrowding the elevator is not recommended, there is no real harm involved. That’s because an elevator that is weighed down too much will stay stationary in place until the excess weight has been lifted off. A majority of home elevators use intelligent technology that enables it to sense when it is overloaded, thereby preventing movement until some of the passengers have stepped out.
3. You are In Danger if The Power Goes Out
Elevators nowadays come with a built-in “Emergency Lowering” feature, where the elevator descends to the lowest floor possible in case the power goes out. Once the vehicle lands on the ground, the doors unlock, allowing passengers to step out safely.
Why Home Elevators are Safer Than Taking the Stairs?
As we learned from the aforementioned statistics, taking the stairs can actually be more dangerous than riding in the elevator. Not only are more prone to missing a step and falling, you also have a higher chance of twisting your ankle or pinching a nerve in case you take a wrong step at the wrong time.
Furthermore, if you tend to get up late at night to grab a glass of water or enjoy an occasional drink then taking the stairs may not be the best idea. Having a home elevator is also beneficial for small children and less mobile individuals, to help minimize accidents that might take place by going up and down the stairs. Some homes may also be able to control access to an elevator.
All in all, home elevators not only offer functionality, but also reduce the risk of unfortunate mishaps that could befall you if you’d rather take the stairs. With all the advances in elevator technology that are continuously being made today, the experience of a home elevator has become a very safe and comfortable one.