Elevator Community Wiki
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This article is based on issues raised by concerned elevator enthusiasts. The Elevator Community Wiki wishes to advise that while it supports important issues within the elevator community, it does not take any favored position regarding the use of elevator keys. People should make their own evaluations, and decide on their own personal point of view. This article is just a friendly reminder to use caution! It is not saying that you can or cannot do anything.


There has been much debate recently about the acceptability of using elevator keys to change functions on an elevator. This includes both elevator keys and elevator door keys. Owning elevator keys is completely legal, but use can be against the law depending on what you use the key for (and on which country or state you are in). The issue has caused controversy to elevator enthusiasts, as some people argue that the continued use of keys is making the elevator community look bad, and that they are setting bad example to minors. Others disagree with the claims of non-key users.

Ultimately, whether you have elevator keys or not, it should be known that owning one is completely fine, but using it unauthorized can get you in trouble.


Andrew Reams (DieselDucy) has also mentioned that a lot of elevator engineers are aware of Elevator photographers and are very concerned about their activities. He stated that many of the engineers he spoke with were of the impression that elevator enthusiasts were not smart, due to their inappropriate behavior with elevator keys. Andrew said that he could see why the engineers thought that way and agreed with many of them.

Definition of "Elevator Key"

Elevator keys are used for service and firefighting purpose. Elevator keys are also used by engineers to maintain or control the elevators using various special modes. They can also be used to restrict the use of elevator.

Elevator Door Keys are used to unlock and manually open the landing doors of an elevator for the purposes of Maintenance, or to rescue people trapped inside the elevator. Elevator door keys include: Drop Key, Triangle Key, V Key, U Key and any other device used to open elevator landing doors.

Inappropriate Actions involving Elevator Key usage:

Below is a list of actions that are considered "tampering" with working elevators. There is nothing stopping you from doing these, but it’s advised that you don’t engage in this activity unless you have permission from the owner of the elevator.

> Use of elevator keys to open an inspection cabinet, turn off fans, play with lights, etc. or to put the elevator into special operating modes is considered tampering. If you get caught, you may be ejected from the facility and possibly get charged for trespassing

> Putting an elevator into fire service mode without authorization is usually safe, however, some (but not all) elevator systems have their fire service mode linked to a fire alarm system or another device that could summon the fire department (fire brigade) upon activation of fire service mode. Summoning the fire services when there is no actual emergency can have you charged with a first degree misdemeanor or maximum of third degree felony.

> Using an elevator key, pass card or any other method to access a restricted floor(s) in an elevator without permission is considered breaking and entering, and your key is considered as a burglary tool. This can end up you being arrested and behind bars if you get caught.

> Using an elevator door key, these open the door exposing the elevator shaft. This should never be attempted under any circumstances. This can put you or somebody’s life at great risk and could cause serious injury or death. Even if you’re with a building owner, they may not know how dangerous it is. These keys should only be used by an elevator technician.

Acceptable key usage:

Below is a list of actions that are acceptable to use elevator keys.

> Use of elevator keys on your own panel in your collection. If you have an elevator panel at your home, you can do anything you want with it.

> Use of elevator keys on an elevator you have permission from the building owner. If the building owner gave you permission to do a fire service or change settings on an elevator. It is totally fine to use your keys in this circumstance.

> Use of elevator keys on an elevator you own. If you own an elevator, you can do anything you want to it.

Lead by Example:

Always think about how your actions influence other people. Think: "Is this the kind of thing minors should be doing?". Many bad things happen because people try out the things they see on the internet or on TV. Programs and documentaries have the "Don't try this at home" disclaimer in them. Think about the effect your videos have on others, especially young people. Think about whether or not it may influence them to do something that could potentially put them or someone else at risk or in severe danger.

Videos & Photos provide Proof:

Any photos or videos of you using Elevator keys inappropriately (both on YouTube and elsewhere) can be used as evidence against you to prove that you have committed a criminal offense. If you have any concerns about possibly incriminating yourself, it’s recommended to remove any videos or photos that could be incriminating, as a precaution.

It's at your own risk:

Anything you do with regards to elevator keys is done entirely at your own risk. If you attempt anything you have read about in this article, YOU and ONLY YOU are liable. The Elevator Community wiki nor individual users are not liable for anything that may happen to you or anyone else as a result of attempting any of the activities listed above.

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