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Alarm button cover

A retrofit for poorly designed control panels
 
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One day I got in an elevator, and I was in a hurry. I saw the "door open" button, and pressed the one next to it, because in most elevators, the door open button is next to the door close button. Makes sense, right? Well, this elevator had no close button, but instead, the "call for service" button was directly next to the door open button. In other words, the same place where any sensible elevator design would put the door close button! Not only that, but this elevator was rather old and a lot of the labels were deteriorated, making them hard to read.

Anyway, the button remained lit after pressing it, but I got no live person, so either it didn't work or it just sends an automated signal to the elevator repair company, without allowing a person to verify the alarm first!

Another similar problem I've seen is that alarm button that rings a bell. In one hotel I stayed at, the button was near the floor buttons, right next to the first floor button. In my 5 day vacation over there, I heard it ring briefly at least 2 times, neither of which was the elevator actually stuck. Our room wasn't close enough to hear it from the room, but I'm sure those 2 times weren't the only times it rang during our visit. I feel sorry for anyone who had a room near the elevator, because such mishaps would be likely to happen at night when people come back groggy or drunk. With elevators whose design "encourages" false alarms, the building staff are likely to pay less attention to the alarm when it goes off.

I can't believe that, with the planning that's surely involved in building an elevator, whether in new construction or in existing ones, that NO ONE would catch such an obvious design flaw before approving it! I mean, most people who are pushing the close button are doing so because they're in a hurry. The call button should be slightly recessed, maybe it could be a knob that you turn or pull on, a toggle switch that must be flipped UP to activate, or at the very least be a different color. (I would suggest making it red) Yet I see this kind of problem in an alarming number of elevators, as well as other devices.

For example, the majority of keypads for security systems include some kind of emergency call buttons. On mine, however, they're directly next to the number keypad buttons, with no contrasting colors, spaced the exact same distance apart as the regular buttons, and no apparent mechanism against accidental presses. I've never set it off by mistake, but I could see someone beginning to panic if the entry delay is nearly over and they're trying to shut it off before the alarm sounds, and in their haste to shut it off they might push the wrong button.

I think that a small, hinged cover in which the "frame" part of it is attachable with velcro or a relatively easily removed adhesive, would be a cheap, easy solution if the building owner or the elevator repair company is fed up with false alarms. They could be sold in different sizes to accommodate different types of elevators as well as keypads on security systems, or other devices that are too easy to accidentally trigger. It would not require any modification or replacement of existing equipment, and a little plastic cover with a hinge and some velcro or adhesive would likely cost next to nothing.

Dickcheney6, Jun 09 2011

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