Monday, June 25, 2007

Trapped in the Elevator

The company security officer, my friend and I were trapped in the office elevator today. It was a very unpleasant 55-minute wait before the door of the elevator was finally opened by the elevator maintenance personnel who apparently was not the maintenance staff of the company.There was not blackout or any kind of supply interruption when the elevator suddenly jerked and stop in between floors. All the buttons inside the elevator suddenly stopped functioning except for the alert bell. In fact, that was the only button that actually made us able to tell the outside world that we were trapped as the intercom button was also went dead (or maybe it was already inoperable under normal circumstances).

As we were waiting for help, we spoke to the security officer about how soon could we be able to get out and should not we just pry open the door ourselves instead of waiting for others to come. He told us we won't be able to pry open the door as it was locked from the outside and the company's maintenance personel do not have the key to this. According to him, only the Elevator's company service personel got the key and only they can open the door ! I was flabbergasted upon hearing this and could not beleive what I heard. In fact according to him, this incident had happened several times before and he was also not very sure of why this elevator could not be opened from the inside under emergency situation. The elevators located at the other buildings in the company HQ complex apparently can be pried openned under emergency like this, so he said. Obviously so because the other buildings are relatively new and of of them is housing the CEO and other top bras.

To me, having to wait for 55 minutes before someone released us from the entrapment just showed the callous and indifferent attitude of whomever responsible in maintaining the elevators. What if instead of us, a pregnant lady or someone claustrophobic was inside? What is if instead of 9.45AM in the morning it was 6.30PM when almost everyone has already left the building? What if the elevator was carrying someone who has a serious nature's call and on his way to the toilet? In fact the security officer was supposed to attend a meeting at 10.00 AM and boy was he nervous when he could only join the important meeting almost one hour after it started...

If we as one of the biggest company in Malaysia are not able even to maintain our own elevators properly, I am beginning to doubt our ability to do something bigger. What scares me the most is the fact that we do things no longer because we beleive or care about it but because we are looking after only to the power that be. Unfortunately, my friend, the security officer and me have become the victims of sheer inefficiency of some individuals and couple with perhaps, serious bureaucracy issue. Decadence of the caring culture we used to have is currently at peak and I hope something can be done before all of us will become the victims...

1 comment:

  1. here in the USA, if you become trapped in an elevator, there is a intercom and a telephone mounted in the elevator. 1 hour response time is the normal for a repairman. the device that you mentioned is called "anti-egress" device. this keeps people from prying the doors open (especially when they don't know what they are doing!) In the USA, a lot of people were doing just that,, prying the doors opne only to fall down the elevatot shaft and getting killed! You were much better off waiting than prying the doors open. leave alone what you don't understand, it could kill you!!!! Only trained personel should get people out of a stopped elevator. Matt USA