What Are All These Keys For?

Firemans KeyYou just got a brand new elevator or completed an elevator modernization. On the way out the door, the elevator technician gives you a quick demonstration and a ring full of keys. As the maintenance supervisor, property manager or building owner, you already have enough keys on your chain to drown if you fell into the swimming pool, and the elevator guy just gave you five more! What do all these keys do, and do you really need them all on the key chain you carry around everyday?

The problem is that the answer to this question varies due to elevator components, location and function.  For instance, here is a catalog of keys and locks from a company often used when manufacturing commercial quality elevators. As you can see, there are hundreds of locks and keys for a wide variety of applications.

The most common keys are for fire service and access to the elevator, lights, and fans. But do you need to keep these keys handy, hanging off your already sagging belt? The answer is a resounding no. Elevator keys are specifically designed to be used for servicing the elevator, making the elevator inoperable or for firefighting purposes only. Unless you are a trained elevator technician or firefighter, you should not use the keys at all and should keep them in a safe location away from the public. In other words, do not use the elevator keys!

To be completely technical, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators addresses keys for elevators. You can find the information in ASME A17.1 – 2013, Section 8.1, where it designates that the elevator keys shall be kept on the premises, readily accessible to the proper personnel, but not accessible to the general public.

The keys do a number of things that primarily involve only the elevator technician and firefighters. Rather than unnecessarily adding to your growing key collection, keep them in a safe place away from the public.

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