Accidents are unpredictable and can occur naturally or may be caused by man. They can occur anywhere, anytime. In cases of accidents that occur in elevators, there should be an understandable plan for such emergencies. However, my brother experienced an incident that proved that the City of Paris is not prepared adequately for the response of emergency. In 2002, our family went to France on a vacation. The significant event that took place, which I always remember about this vacation, is an accident that took place Paris. About seven people including my younger brother were in a small elevator and were stuck for about 20 minutes. A storm caused electricity failure that resulted to this incident. My younger brother was quite traumatized by this experience. The experience made him so afraid of elevators such that he avoided them until our recent visit to New York City where he had to take the elevator to get to the top of the empire state building.
I interviewed him regarding this incident and this is what he had to say in response to my questions. He said that the most difficult part of his experience is coming to terms with the fact that he was trapped in an Elevator and anything could happen. Thoughts of the extreme cases of things that could go wrong kept coming in his mind. He asked himself questions such as, what if the oxygen inside the elevator becomes insufficient and we all die? His experience began to worsen where he realized that the air inside the elevator was actually decreasing. The amount of air became so insufficient that one woman nearly fainted. Everyone in the elevator was having difficulty with breathing. One of the men became hysterical and began banging on the door of the elevator. Someone held the young woman to prevent her from hitting the ground.
The feeling that crept in his belly was that of extreme fear and confused. He felt alone and abandoned. Even with the other six people who were with him, he still felt that he was alone in the elevator. This feeling was magnified from the thought that none of these people could help him. Since he was a young boy, he believed that in case of any problem, the older people always come up with solutions. However, in this incident, the older people looked more miserable and in fact were the ones hoping to be assisted. He became annoyed and angry with himself and everyone in the lift. He wished that he could have used the stairs. He prayed silently and asked God to give him one more chance and he will never use an elevator again.
The only sights that he could see outside the translucent walls of the elevator were of figures he believed to be of moving people. The dread within him was so intense that he cannot remember any smell or sound. It was as if all his sensory organs had died. The only living thing in him was the uncertainty and fear of eminent death. He then gathered a little courage and began thinking of what he can do to save his life. Our father has always taught us that regardless of how bad the situation is, one must try to change it. the difference between winners and losers lies in either trying or not trying. A thought then hit him, and he immediately implemented it. He took his phone and called the police. Immediately after briefing the police on what was taking place, he was asked to inform the people inside the elevator that the emergency crew were working on ways of rescuing them.
He was informed that the incident management team (IMT) had assembled at the incident command post so that they could provide support and give directions to the affected areas. One of their main tasks was to reduce the confusion, which that the people trapped in the lifts were going through. In order to achieve this, they have to plan, organize and execute the recovery activity as soon as possible. The team has to monitor recovery development and allocation of the required resources. He gathered enough air in order to relay this information. This news brought some relief inside the elevator. Within seconds, the doors of the elevator were opened and they safely walked out of the elevators. They were all taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries and post emergency shock.
The important lesson he learned about himself is that he is very brave regardless of the fear that had first gripped him. When everyone else was so afraid that they refused to think, he was the only one who got courage to communicate with the outside world. This small, action resulted into much relief and subsequent rescue. The advice that would give to someone who faces a similar challenge is that there is no need of being afraid when stuck in an elevator. This is because immediately an elevator is stuck, there are technicians who understand the condition inside the elevator and will do everything to ensure that nom one is hurt. The other advice is that he or she should remain calm. This is because whether one is anxious or not, nothing much they can do by someone stuck inside an elevator. If there is, one thing that someone stuck in an elevator can do is to pray and hope that all goes well.