Freshman Amina Mayfield was trapped in Stroud Hall’s left elevator for 42 minutes on Feb. 27. Mayfield was on her way to a statistics class when the elevator got stuck on the second floor.
She pressed the elevator’s emergency call button, which instantly contacts the 911 call center. Within minutes, a response team assembled to safely remove Mayfield from the elevator.
“It was pretty scary, but I had to stay calm,” said Mayfield. “[The response team was] really helpful, and they got me out as fast as they could.”
Corporal Michael Flaherty from campus police was called to the scene at 9:51 a.m. and the facilities department’s electricians arrived shortly after.
Once the situation was assessed, the East Stroudsburg Volunteer Fire Department (ESFD) was also called. ESFD shares a joint response with Stroud Township and the Stroudsburg Fire Department.
Corporal Flaherty waited with Mayfield on the second floor while ESFD proceeded to the third floor to work on the elevator’s mechanics.
“I just stayed with Amina to keep her calm…lighten the mood,” said Corporal Flaherty, who even ensured Mayfield’s professor knew she’d be late to class. “Just general conversation to keep her mind off of everything going on around her.”
There are latches and safety mechanisms that keep the doors closed, but the elevator’s latches were positioned between the second and third floors. ESFD used specialized tools to slide the elevator car doors open without power.
Mayfield was rescued at 10:33 a.m., and an “Out of Service” sign was later taped on the elevator. Stroud Hall’s right elevator remained in operation.
Corporal Flaherty explained that the process to remove someone from a stuck elevator generally follows the same steps as Mayfield’s incident.
There’s a call to respond, campus police and facilities arrive at the scene and electricians examine the elevator’s malfunction. The elevator is reset, and if that doesn’t work, the power is completely shut off to avoid an abrupt restart and injuries. ESFD is then dispatched.
According to data provided by Scott Heinrich, energy and plant services manager, Stroud Hall’s left elevator was repaired on Feb. 27 at 1:03 p.m. A Schindler Elevator Corporation technician replaced the microswitch for brake contact assembly.
Within the last year (February 2018 to February 2019), Stroud Hall’s left elevator has stopped working three times before the Feb. 27 incident.
Service calls were placed on March 6, 2018, July 9, 2018, and Nov. 7, 2018. On Jan. 25, 2019, the elevator passed its five-year inspection.
Corporal Flaherty offered helpful tips for all students and faculty members to follow if they’re trapped in an elevator.
Like Mayfield, press the elevator’s emergency call button when you realize you’re stuck. If the button isn’t working, call 911 on your cellphone. Once you’re in contact with an operator, provide as much information as possible: your location, the elevator you’re in (right or left), the floor you’re stuck on and the number of people in the elevator.
In addition, you should inform the operator about any health conditions, such as diabetes, a bad heart or any broken limbs that require crutches. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will be dispatched as well.
Lastly, Corporal Flaherty emphasized the importance of staying calm and waiting for the appropriate personnel to arrive.
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