Bob Desnoyers Elevator &  Escalator Inspections, Inc.


 Update Warning

Update #10 Emergency Communications (

The emergency communication requirements have chaged in a few rather subtle but dramatic ways. Rule 211.1(a)(2) of A17.1-1996 requires "means of two-way conversation between the car and "a readily accessible point outside the hoistway which is available to emergency personnel (telephone, intercom, etc.)." The phrase "outside the hoistway" is ambiguous and could include many locations on or off property depending on the authority having jurisdiction's interpretation. of A17.1-2004 requires that "a two-way communications means between the car and a location in the building that is readily accessible to authorized and emergency personnel shall be provided." As you can see, this would require some sort of communications means to be installed in the building. If this location is not staffed on a 24 hour a day basis, allows the call to automatically be directed, within 30 seconds, to a location which is. If for instance you have a building with a security department that is staffed 24 hours a day and these authorized personnel can respond to an emergency call from the elevator then the emergency communication means has been provided. If on the other hand you have a building without an authorized person who can take action, a communication device of some sort would need to be provided in the building which could transfer the emergency call within 30 seconds from the elevator to another site that is staffed on a 24 hour a day basis. The 1996 code allowed the emergency phone to automatically go to a local answering service or to the elevator contractor's national answering service. A second communication device in the building was not required.

In the United States the two-way communication means in the car must comply with ANSI A117.1 (Specifications for Making Buildings and Facilities Accessible to, and Usable by, the Physically Handicapped). highlights some of the requirements of this specification. of A17.1-2004 requires that "where the elevator travel is 18 m (60 ft) or more, a two-way voice communication means within the building shall be provided..." The remainder of describes the operation of this device. of A17.1-2004 describes the requirements for providing power to these devices if they are connected to normal building power and it should fail.

Many of the communication devices manufactured today are quite programmable and will allow the installer to program the device to perform many remarkable and amazing things...please don't loose the installation and user manuals!

If you are interested in reading a brief bit about the emergency signaling device (bell) please visit Update #9 Emergency Signaling Devices.

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