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Testing Your Elevator Help Phone for Emergency Communications


"As a Property Manager, the safety of our tenants in the event of an elevator entrapment, coupled with the reliability of the emergency communication system, is a top priority. We recently took over a property where an emergency elevator communication system needed to be put in place immediately. I contacted Kings III and explained the necessity of having the system installed as soon as possible. Kings III understood the issues at hand and the need to move quickly. Their team had the job complete the following morning."

Cindy Gowen, CB Richard Ellis

"Kings III provides full maintenance, warranty and service of our equipment; therefore, there are no surprise repair or replacement costs so I find it easy to budget for. I have also realized a substantial savings by using Kings III. "

Sue Mied, Lincoln Property Company

"On Monday, October 8, I got stuck in an elevator in my school’s building in Miami Florida. I suffer from anxiety/panic attacks and claustrophobia and when I pressed the emergency button I got the most helpful person, Operator Steven. He doesn’t even know how much he helped me that day. Steven stayed on the phone with me the whole time I was stuck and reassured me I was completely safe, help was on the way and that everything was going to be ok. He truly went above and beyond his job and for that I am very thankful."

Jaymelee Velez, Letter from an entrapped elevator passenger

Testing Your Elevator Help Phone for Emergency Communications

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.

Step One

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 through 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

Step Two

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.

Step Three

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.


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.

Kings III offers auto-testing to customers upon request as an added benefit to our monitoring service. Auto testing alone is not a foolproof method of maintaining code compliance with your elevator communication system, but is a valuable first step in that process.