Firefighter Mode for Elevators

Okay, here is a short video on firefighter mode for elevators. Remember that each jurisdiction should check with their buildings and operational guidelines. This video may not be the only way to operate certain types of elevators but it is indicative of most in our area.

It was asked of me to mention the "HOLD" position.  This position in most elevator cars allows the crew to place the key in the "HOLD" position and exit the car without it getting recalled to the lobby.  When the crew gets back in the car they need to turn back to the "ON" position and take full control of the car again.

The "BYPASS" position is at the lobby control.  This can be used to put the elevator back into normal operation if the alarm system has not reset.  This should be done only after it as been determined that the alarm activation is a malfunction or service related.

Hope that helps.


Train hard and thanks for reading.


  • DaveH says:

    Great video, as usual.   The only comment I have is that you might want to mention what the 'hold' mode on the FF switch is for.

  • dc802 says:


     Thanks and great point. I will take some time and add it to the post.

    Thanks again,


  • Lance C. Peeples says:

    Strong work Jason.  Some other things to think about when operating elevators at high-rise fires:
    1.  Carry a set of irons in case the car becomes stalled and you need to force your way out.
    2.  No more then six members in a car.
    3.  Have your masks ready to don.
    4.  Stop the car every five floors while ascending to make sure you still have control of the car.  Orient yourself to the stairways in case the car opens on a smoke filled floor.  Look up with a hand lantern into the space between the car and shaft to see if you can see any smoke in the shaft.
    5.  Get out at least two floors below the suspected fire floor.  Due to open stairs in duplex apartments an alarm can sound first on the floor ABOVE the fire floor.
    6.  Eight floors or less you should probably use the stairs.
    7.  If you hold the elevator car two floors below the suspected fire floor the car will be unable to shuttle reinforcements.  A dedicated member should be assigned to operate the car in a shuttle fashion between the lobby and stageing.
    8.  Once you arrive at the staging floor try and find the line of apartments that corresponds with the reported fire apartment.  Count the number of apartment doors back to the stairwell.  When you enter a smoke filled public hall you'll be able to find the fire apartment by counting doors from the stairwell.

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Jason Hoevelmann

Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal with the Sullivan Fire Protection District, a combination department, and a career firefighter/paramedic with the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District in North St. Louis County.

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