Your state enforces ASME A17.1 for elevator emergency communications. A working emergency telephone or intercom is required by this code. The test procedure outlined below is designed to determine whether or not your current emergency communication devices meet this standard. Furthermore, some of you will have to meet the code required by the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") 4.10.14. This applies to any elevator installed or substantially overhauled on or after July 26, 1992. It is possible that your building(s) may have a grandfathered exemption from ASME but states cannot exempt you from Federal ADA requirements.
This test requires two people. You may take the elevators out of service during the test but it is not necessary.
1. Each tester should enter a different elevator and activate the emergency phone, (the two phones should be in use simultaneously). If the phones meet code, both testers will be talking to an emergency operator. The testers may hear each other as well, but both must have reached an outside number and be able to carry on a two-way conversation with the emergency operator. Remember, both of the phones should be activated at approximately the same time and ultimately on-line simultaneously. If anything other than what is described above happens; i.e., only one call goes through; no calls go though but you can talk to each other; one call connects but is disconnected when the second phone is activated; the phones will not dial out; the calls are completed but the two parties cannot hear each other; YOUR PHONES DO NOT COMPLY WITH ASME A17.1
2. Ask the operator if they can identify your location. For ADA compliance, the most important requirement is that the emergency operator answering the call must be able to determine the exact location of the caller without the caller telling them. If the operators cannot, the phones are not ADA compliant.
3. Call the number associated with the elevator phone and see what happens. If the phones in the elevators do not ring, you are not ADA compliant. ADA requires that you be able to call back to the elevator directly without going through a switchboard or an auto attendant. If you do not know the numbers for your elevators, simply ask the operator if they caught your caller I.D. and to read it back to you. Then you will be able to call those numbers from your office or a cell phone.
Remember, failure to comply exposes your employer and your building owner to unnecessary liability. Keep in mind that when inspectors "pass" an elevator, they are not guaranteeing that you are code compliant and most are enforcing state or municipal codes and are not checking for Federal ADA requirements. The burden of code compliance falls on the management company and building owners.