Discussions

I have been stuck in an elevator twice (the same elevator each time). I just used the call button and security came and got me out so it was inconvenient but not a huge hassle or dangerous. In many buildings the call button goes to a central call center somewhere in the world, not to anyone local.  I always make sure I have my cell phone with me whenever I get on an elevator (particularly those smaller residential ones) in case, for some reason, the call button doesn’t work.  In many places zoning requires that there be a phone or call box in those elevators but when people moved from landlines to cellular, a lot of placed ripped out the landlines without realizing it would affect elevators that aren’t subject to inspections. The scariest elevator experience I had was at a private office building and did not involve the actual elevator. I had been working late on a Friday and when I called the elevator to leave it NEVER came (I later learned the janitor had “hard stopped” it on a lower floor while he was cleaning).  BUT, when I departed I had left my entry badge on a desk and could not get back into the main building from the elevator lobby without it. I was TRAPPED on that upper floor! There was NO way to leave the elevator lobby – security doors locked, no windows, no way to make the elevator come, no stairs.   I had a brief moment of panic: No one would be back in the building until Monday, what if there was a fire and I couldn’t get out. I took a deep breath and thought. I finally remembered that I knew a guy who knew a guy who worked on that floor and after a few phone calls he came and rescued me via the stairs (and gave the janitor a talking-to. Poor janitor; I’m sure he had no idea he was trapping someone upstairs).  I wrote to the health and safety officer of the building the next day and explained the problem, and they immediately installed a fire door for the elevator lobby – the kind where you press the bar for 15 seconds and an alarm sounds, but at least you can get out.  It turns out the office manager for that floor had decided to put install that fully locked door on the upper elevator lobby as a way of avoiding the expense of a receptionist, and had hired a contractor to do it without checking with the building management.  The contractor had no knowledge of fire codes etc. So now whenever I enter a building I check the “escape routes”!  The worst ones I come across are always in Europe in hotels built in very old buildings. Many of them are absolute death traps, and the cleaning services are forever propping open any fire doors that might exist, thus rendering them useless.  More than once I’ve asked to be moved to a different room because the one I was in was, essentially, at the top of a chimney. The hotel staff are never surprised. They know!

One thing I’ve done is to combine what is suggested above with “blocks” on my accounts. My credit is frozen – no one can open credit in my name, and the password for unfreezing THAT is not in my “master list”. I limited my financial institutions to the smallest number possible, and have set up account restrictions such that if someone tries to charge, transfer, or withdraw more than a certain amount it will be blocked unless I call the bank to pre-approve it.  I can’t withdraw more than a few hundred dollars from an ATM at a time (by my choice).  The accounts also have a “trusted contact” assigned to them such that if there is unusual activity on any account the trusted family contact will be notified.  That way if I’m traveling, sick, or somehow otherwise incapacitated the trusted contact can intervene if someone is messing around with the funds. This has been great on many levels.  It has stopped me from overspending!  A few times I tried to make a large purchase and the bank stopped it.  Just the act of having to call them to preauthorize it made me think twice about whether I really needed x, y, or z.  It makes it easy to say no to those endless credit “come ons” at stores – since my credit is frozen, opening a new account is such a pain that I’m just not tempted.   I also have my accounts set up so that if they drop below a certain balance I get a text notification, or if my credit card goes above a certain balance I also get a notification.  That way if someone does hack their way into my accounts it minimizes the time between the activity and when I can lock them down.  Most banks have these restrictions available but they require proactive intervention on your part; it is not automatic. It used to be that you had to call to set them up, but  now most of them let you set it up online.  And you’ll get a text or email if someone else tries to change those settings, too.  


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I have been stuck in an elevator twice (the same elevator each time). I just used the call button and security came and got me out so it was inconvenient but not a huge hassle or dangerous. In many buildings the call button goes to a central call center somewhere in the world, not to anyone local.  I always make sure I have my cell phone with me whenever I get on an elevator (particularly those smaller residential ones) in case, for some reason, the call button doesn’t work.  In many places zoning requires that there be a phone or call box in those elevators but when people moved from landlines to cellular, a lot of placed ripped out the landlines without realizing it would affect elevators that aren’t subject to inspections. The scariest elevator experience I had was at a private office building and did not involve the actual elevator. I had been working late on a Friday and when I called the elevator to leave it NEVER came (I later learned the janitor had “hard stopped” it on a lower floor while he was cleaning).  BUT, when I departed I had left my entry badge on a desk and could not get back into the main building from the elevator lobby without it. I was TRAPPED on that upper floor! There was NO way to leave the elevator lobby – security doors locked, no windows, no way to make the elevator come, no stairs.   I had a brief moment of panic: No one would be back in the building until Monday, what if there was a fire and I couldn’t get out. I took a deep breath and thought. I finally remembered that I knew a guy who knew a guy who worked on that floor and after a few phone calls he came and rescued me via the stairs (and gave the janitor a talking-to. Poor janitor; I’m sure he had no idea he was trapping someone upstairs).  I wrote to the health and safety officer of the building the next day and explained the problem, and they immediately installed a fire door for the elevator lobby – the kind where you press the bar for 15 seconds and an alarm sounds, but at least you can get out.  It turns out the office manager for that floor had decided to put install that fully locked door on the upper elevator lobby as a way of avoiding the expense of a receptionist, and had hired a contractor to do it without checking with the building management.  The contractor had no knowledge of fire codes etc. So now whenever I enter a building I check the “escape routes”!  The worst ones I come across are always in Europe in hotels built in very old buildings. Many of them are absolute death traps, and the cleaning services are forever propping open any fire doors that might exist, thus rendering them useless.  More than once I’ve asked to be moved to a different room because the one I was in was, essentially, at the top of a chimney. The hotel staff are never surprised. They know!

One thing I’ve done is to combine what is suggested above with “blocks” on my accounts. My credit is frozen – no one can open credit in my name, and the password for unfreezing THAT is not in my “master list”. I limited my financial institutions to the smallest number possible, and have set up account restrictions such that if someone tries to charge, transfer, or withdraw more than a certain amount it will be blocked unless I call the bank to pre-approve it.  I can’t withdraw more than a few hundred dollars from an ATM at a time (by my choice).  The accounts also have a “trusted contact” assigned to them such that if there is unusual activity on any account the trusted family contact will be notified.  That way if I’m traveling, sick, or somehow otherwise incapacitated the trusted contact can intervene if someone is messing around with the funds. This has been great on many levels.  It has stopped me from overspending!  A few times I tried to make a large purchase and the bank stopped it.  Just the act of having to call them to preauthorize it made me think twice about whether I really needed x, y, or z.  It makes it easy to say no to those endless credit “come ons” at stores – since my credit is frozen, opening a new account is such a pain that I’m just not tempted.   I also have my accounts set up so that if they drop below a certain balance I get a text notification, or if my credit card goes above a certain balance I also get a notification.  That way if someone does hack their way into my accounts it minimizes the time between the activity and when I can lock them down.  Most banks have these restrictions available but they require proactive intervention on your part; it is not automatic. It used to be that you had to call to set them up, but  now most of them let you set it up online.  And you’ll get a text or email if someone else tries to change those settings, too.  


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