2003 Standard

Pictograms on lift phones are a visual aid to help a hard-of-hearing person know the status of the emergency call. The 2003 Standard for EN:81-70 indicates the following 3 steps as compulsory:

  1. When the alarm button is pressed, the yellow pictogram comes on meaning the emergency alarm is placing a call
  2. Once the call is answered, yellow switches off and green switches on meaning the call has been answered
  3. Finally, when the operator ends the call, green switches off

The lights not only provide a status but are a visual confirmation that the emergency phone is operating correctly.

Changes to 2018 Standard

In 2018, the standards were updated, and pictogram operation was moved to EN:81-28. The steps were also modified, requiring a slight change to the pictogram operation:

  1. When the alarm button is pressed, the yellow pictogram comes on meaning the emergency alarm is placing a call
  2. Once the call is answered, yellow remains on and green switches on
  3. The green light goes off when the voice call is over
  4. The yellow pictogram will stay on until the end of the alarm signal is sent back to the emergency phone which shows that the trapping has been dealt with

When an alarm button is pressed, the alarm equipment goes from a standby state to an alarm state. In this state, it will call out and allow the rescue company to dial back in and speak to the trapped passenger in the lift car. This allows passengers to have access to remote help whilst trapped in the lift car, providing them with access to services that will help enhance their safety during this period.

When the entrapment is over (once the passenger is freed), the emergency phone must be taken out of its alarm state and back into its standby state where it will not automatically allow any incoming calls, to prevent someone calling into the lift car and eavesdropping on conversations. This helps ensure passengers’ right to privacy is protected. The alarm signal can be ended locally by an on-site engineer via a key switch or a button in or on the lift, or remotely by the operator who can send the message *# via a keystroke from a keypad.

The new Standard enhances privacy to the passengers as the yellow lighted pictogram shows if the alarm is still active and therefore if third parties can hear what’s going on inside the car.

Flashing pictograms

The other mode of operation to be aware of is when a 3-day test call fails as EN81-28:2018 states that in these cases the pictograms will flash in opposition 1 second on 1 second off to signal to lift users that there is a problem with the telephone (the issue could be linked to the telephone line connection, or the hardware of the telephone itself). The lights will continue flashing until the next successful test call takes place.

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