Lift emergency call as profit centre
By the end of 2020, every passenger and cargo lift must be fitted with a standardised lift emergency call device according to the revised EN 81-28. The economist Raphael Gorski explaines the consequences.
Petrol stations only live to a third from the sale of fuel; they earn two-thirds from the car wash and shop. Gyms not only earn income from memberships, but also from the sale of beverages and bars. Lift entrepreneurs should also think about such a "profit centre."
One possibility for upgrading their range of services is installing and maintaining lift emergency call devices. This is because it is usually a great relief for lift operators if they are offered all-round service in addition to lift maintenance.
Protect itself against claims
However, the opportunity of earning money with something also always involves the risk of losing money. Since the operator of a lift can be held liable in the event of a claim, it must protect itself against such claims and rely on the specialist expertise of its lift builder in selecting lift emergency call devices.
If the currently installed lift emergency device does not work or there is none, an incident where people are trapped may not be followed by a thank-you letter, but instead by one from a lawyer.
Resourceful industry representatives then use terms like "hypoxia" and "claustrophobia" (here at least two hours of being trapped) or fractured bones - for example, because the car allegedly shot upwards. You do not have to be a doctor or engineer to wrinkle your brow at such scenarios.
A good emergency call device records every detail exhaustively
However, doubts can be quickly eliminated, since a good emergency call-/service control room documents every detail and every contact with trapped passengers. Important not only in the case of recourse claims: a good emergency call device documents every detail exhaustively. However, for this purpose the devices installed must work properly and flawlessly.
The European Committee for Standardisation has overhauled the former version for remote emergency calls and tackled several parts of EN 81-28/2003. For example, according to the new 2018 version with a transition period up to 2020, it will now become an obligation to connect with a constantly occupied external centre.
External control centre
Therefore, the times of porter systems with simple telephones are no more, since emergency calls may no longer be overlooked. Receipt of the emergency call has to be recorded and a 365/24/7-occupied emergency call centre must be able to take the emergency call. It initiates the liberation and provides those trapped with trained assistance until the end of the emergency call.
Lift emergency call devices generally have to have access to a UPS. According to surveys, only every second trapped person is noticed by ringing and knocking. The standard requires that emergency call devices must bridge any power failure for at least an hour and permit a discussion with an external control centre for 15 minutes.
In addition, flawless charging and a battery with a monitored power condition must be available. Ideally, an external service provider assumes this service. It provides the documentation and in this way relieves the owners of the responsibility.
Pictograms & acoustics in the lift
The ideal situation in the standard is that no one should enter a defective lift - for example, passengers can be warned in advance by flashing pictograms. Operators with foresight employ lift emergency call devices with voice announcements or acoustic signals that indicate problems.
The committee has also decided that the noise level must be adjustable. As a result, the volume and sensitivity of the microphone can already be modified at start-up. This avoids comprehension problems attributable to many reasons: annoying background noise due to busy roads, factory noises or simply a forgotten hearing aid.
Good value for money
It is important to note that pre-installed lift emergency call devices are grandfathered. However, the conversion of telephone lines from analogue to digital is a very good occasion to do justice to higher customer requirements and the standard.
However, a basic precondition is good value for money. Those who save on the device in making an investment will later have to pay a fitter to carry out frequent repairs. The old rule applies: you get what you pay for. Consequently, a good, economicaly-efficient lift emergency call device is one you hardly notice.
The author is the lift emergency call sales team head at GS electronic.