Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Trapped in a Revolving Door

Getting trapped in a revolving door may sound unlikely, but it has happened to me twice. It could happen to you, so please learn from my experiences and be prepared in the event that you find yourself in this embarrassing situation.

I recently traveled to Nova Scotia on business trip. On the day of my departure, I took a taxi to the Halifax airport. After unloading my bags from the taxi, I quickly gained my bearings and headed toward a revolving door in front of the departure terminal. I approached the door from the side and figured that I would be able to make it through the briskly moving revolving door without waiting for the next revolution so I entered. I crossed the threshold with my bags in tow as the revolving door slowed to a halt, trapping me within the metal and Plexiglas cage. I didn’t panic.

The reason why I didn’t panic was that I had been in this situation once before. It was a much smaller revolving door that time, but I figured that the same technique that had gotten me out of a jam before could be employed this time as well. On the ceiling of powered revolving doors, you’ll find a motion sensor that can be triggered by waving your hand across it. This is a handy, yet poorly documented, safety feature that keeps people from getting trapped in revolving doors. I hope that this article helps rectify the lack of knowledge of this safety feature.

I scanned the ceiling looking for the dark rectangular piece of plastic that housed my ticket out of the revolving door. Towards the back of the door, I found what I was looking for. I confidently waved my hand across the plastic. I heard a click and then nothing. Usually the door would start moving, but all I got was a click. I tried twice more, just to make sure that I hadn’t waved my hand incorrectly, but all I ever got was that stupid click.

Since the motion sensor failed to work, I turned to the old standby of yelling while pounding on the wall and flailing my arms wildly to attract attention and hopefully someone who can help. There wasn’t anyone nearby so my pounding and yelling went unnoticed.

About the time that I realized that no one was near enough to hear my calls for help, an airport shuttle came by and unloaded its cargo. A couple made their way toward me, and the door began to revolve; freeing me at last. I waited until they passed safely, and I thanked them for releasing me.

All of this took place within a minute, but it’s never fun to be trapped, even if just for a brief amount of time. So that you may avoid this situation, I provide here a practical guide to avoid becoming stuck in a powered revolving door and what to do if you do happen to get stuck:

How to avoid getting stuck:
-Don’t enter a revolving door from the side; always approach it head on so that you trigger a fresh revolution cycle.
-Don’t enter on the last part of someone’s revolution unless there is someone behind you; wait until the person in front of you passes and then enter on your own. This should trigger a new cycle and let you pass safely.
-When in a group, don’t be the last one to pass through the revolving door.
-Use the traditional door; this is usually located right next to the revolving door.

What to do if you get stuck:
-Stay calm, don’t panic.
-Look for the motion sensor and trigger it.
-Attract the attention of someone outside the door; their approach should trigger the door and free you.
-Wait for help to arrive.

Even if you are prepared, this won’t guarantee you passage through a revolving door. Lindi of Leaving a Trail entered a revolving door just before the power to it was shut off and was stuck for 30 minutes.

If you’ve ever been trapped in a revolving door, I’d love to hear your story. Please add a comment below.

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  1. This is an all new adventure to getting stuck in an elevator. In this type of door everyone can see you but can't get to you. Is there a red button that alerts 911 in a revolving door like and elevator has. It might be fun to watch someone stuck in a revolving door for 30 minutes- ya know smoking their last cigarette, sharing with others what they are going to do "when they get out of here." I think you are on to something here...

  2. The door that I was trapped in last time did not have an emergency button. Arguably, they should. I suppose that you could always break the glass and escape. I've never seen an emergency button on one, but I'll keep an eye out from here on out.

    The hotel I'm currently at has a revolving door, and I paused in front of it when I arrived. I took one of the side doors.

  3. I have been in revolving doors that have come to a halt. I always thought I wasn't walking fast enough or something of the sort. If you try to give these huge doors a push, usually nothing happens.

    I will now feel like a pro the next time the doors do not cooperate ith me.

  4. I am one of those very impatient people who always tail on the back of someone else going into a revolving door. I have not yet been caught in one, but I will not be surprised in the least when it finally does happen to me. Great tips by the way! Hopefully I will remember the "don't panic" tip when my impatience finally gets me trapped!

  5. Do you usually serve as an author only for this site or you do this for some other Internet or offline portals?