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Your Elevator Suddenly Plummets
Why You Can Relax: Because modern elevators are equipped with so many fail-safes, it's almost impossible. On the extremely off chance the cables of your elevator get cut (as they did in 1945 when a plane hit the Empire State Building—the last time a traction elevator's cables were simultaneously severed and it started to fall), a brake-like device will quickly stop the car from free-falling.
But If It Does Happen: Stay put. "Anytime you experience irregularities with an elevator, do not try to open the doors," says Dotty Stanlaske, executive director of the National Association of Elevator Safety Authorities. "The worst thing you can do is try to exit a moving elevator." If it's dropping, squat down in a corner, she says. That way you minimize the impact if you come to an abrupt stop.