How often Lancashire's firefighters free people stuck in lifts

Huge number of cases of people trapped in elevators across the county

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 12:30 pm

Lancashire fire crews rescued people from lifts more than 1,300 times in a decade.

Shop and office closures throughout the coronavirus pandemic contributed to fewer people finding themselves trapped in lifts last year, according to the National Fire Chiefs Council.

But despite the impact of lockdown measures, the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service still had to perform 108 lift rescues in 2020.

Lancashire fire crews free people from lifts more than 1,300 times Image: Shutterstock

That was 27 fewer than the 135 carried out the previous year.

The Fire Brigades Union called for building owners to take responsibility for the maintenance of lifts after Home Office statistics showed crews in the area attended 1,396 “lift release” incidents between January 2011 and December 2020.

They accounted for four per cent of all non-fire related calls attended by Lancashire firefighters in that time.

Nationally, more than 120,000 lift rescues were carried out over the decade and crews across England were called more than 8,500 times last year to free those trapped.

But that represented a drop of more than a quarter compared to 2019, with a spokesperson for the National Fire Chiefs Council saying Covid-19 had an impact as more people stayed at home throughout last year’s lockdowns.

He added: “It may also be reflective of the longer-term work of fire and rescue services in actively requesting building owners ensure lifts are maintained to reduce the instances of lift call outs.”

A spokeswoman for the Fire Brigades Union said residents and workers should not have to put up with subpar facilities and urged building owners to keep lifts in good repair.

She added: “The fire service is a vital public service and no matter what the incident or cause, firefighters will always be there to respond.

“Although people stuck in a lift may not be at immediate risk, it is through no fault of their own and they should not be left stranded for long periods of time.”

A number of fire brigades have introduced charging policies in an effort to recover the costs of attending non-emergency lift rescues where there is no risk to life.

Charges, which differ from service to service, can cost hundreds of pounds per call out.