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Lift Shaft Air Bag

Prevent lift shaft falling injuries
  [vote for,

Many people are killed or seriously injured every year by falling down lift shafts. These accidents are normally occasioned either by the slipshod practices of lift maintennance staff, or by murderous lift control systems which have run amok.

Here is a simple remedy: situate an air bag at the bottom of the shaft. The shaft would probably have to be excavated a bit deeper to accomodate the bag. Another bag could be placed atop the lift car itself, to catch people falling on to the car from above.

Ah, I hear you ask, but would the bag on the car not impede the escape of persons from an imobilised car? Indeed it would, but this does not matter, since they could make their escape by dropping through a hatch in the lift floor, in the knowlege that they would be saved by the shaft-bottom bag.

Mickey the Fish, Jan 25 2001

Evelvator Death Statistics http://www.cdc.gov/...000397/d000397.html
More than you could ever want to know about elevator/escalator accidents. According to this only 30 people a year (in the U.S.) die due to an elevator or escalator, and half of those are people who work on them. (A graph a little further down shows that only half of that again are due to falls.) [blahginger, Jan 25 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Two die as lift shaft doors spring open http://www.telegrap...01/2/5/nlift05.html
News from the Electronic Torygraph 5-ii-01 [Gordon Comstock, Jan 25 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

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       Peter, yes.. that's what I had in mind. Something like a bouncy castle. Sorry if I wasn't clear.
Mickey the Fish, Jan 25 2001

       This could be a great recreational thing. Imagine a padded shaft with a thick crash-mat at the base: People could drop out of the bottom of the (raised) elevator, plummet ten to fifty stories, and land safely without any chance of sudden winds causing messes around the perimeter of the mat. Each person falls, then scrambles clear into an adjoining doorway. Then the elevator is lowered, everyone clambers aboard, it's raised, and they repeat the process. Install the mats as safety devices in office towers and rent out the shaft on weekends.   

       And do very quick low-gravity experiments. Or provide wonderful exposure therapy for acrophobes. Or for people afflicted with the equally debilitating but as-yet-unnamed irrational fear of plummeting down elevator shafts.
Monkfish, Jan 25 2001

       I recently saw a bumber-sticker on the back of an elevator maintenance company's truck that proclaimed, "Elevator Repairmen Do It Up and Down."   

       It fairly stopped me in my tracks.
francois, Jan 25 2001

       This sounds totally cool, but I'm concerned with how we'd prevent people from bouncing off the walls on their way down 15 stories. Elevator shafts aren't that much bigger than the cars they house and since one needs to jump away from his/her location into the shaft, there's a trajectory concern that becomes more real the higher he/she is from the landing pad.
iuvare, Jan 25 2001

       As far as the original idea goes, people probably wouldn't mind glancing off a wall or two if their lives were saved by a mat at the bottom.   

       With regard to jumping deliberately, that's why I see a need for padded shaft walls. And slipping through a trap-door at the bottom of the car would allow them to drop fairly straight in any case. The wisdom of building elevators with trap doors in the floor is the only questionable part. Well, the most questionable of the various questionable parts.
Monkfish, Jan 25 2001

       Padding would help with perpendicular falls, not scrapes (I saw the "padded shaft" portion in your original reply), so I guess deliberate jumpers would be provided with crash helments and full-body motorcycle-style suits?
iuvare, Jan 25 2001

       PeterSealy, wouldn't it be possible to install some sort of velocity trigger? Even the fastest elevators don't travel at the speeds induced by free fall.
absterge, Jan 29 2001


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