For the purposes of this guidance note, elevator rescue is considered to be the removal of occupants from inside a disabled or stalled elevator car through the elevator doors and does not include rescues from elevator shafts, hoistways or through the top of the elevator car.


Firefighters are at risk of injury from unexpected movement of the elevator.

Actions for employers

Employers must:

  • train personnel who respond to such emergencies

Employers should:

  • develop procedures where there is a need to engage in elevator rescue

Elevator rescue considerations

At no time should firefighters enter the elevator shaft or hoistway during an elevator rescue. These operations, as well as the removal of occupants through the top of the elevator car, require specialized knowledge and training in various technical rescue disciplines including confined space rescue and rope rescue.

Training and information for elevator rescue personnel

Elevator rescue personnel must be made aware of the hazards associated with elevator systems during a rescue.

They should know how to:

  • determine when an extraction from a stalled elevator is necessary
  • isolate a power source with lock-out and tag-out procedures
  • determine when a rescue attempt should be aborted
  • safely open doors into stalled elevators using tools provided by fire departments
  • safely immobilize different types of elevators to prevent unexpected movement during extrication

Applicable regulations and acts


  • Occupational Health and Safety Act
    • clause 25(2)(a) for providing information and instruction to a worker
    • clause 25(2)(d) for making workers aware of hazards
    • clause 25(2)(h) for taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers

Applicable standards

For procedures for emergency personnel to safely extricate persons trapped in stalled elevators and instructions for the use of elevator fire service systems during emergencies, read ASME A17.4 – 2015 Guide for emergency personnel


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