How reliable is lift-monitoring system?

I am deeply saddened by the report that an elderly woman's hand was severed while she was using the lift in an HDB block ("Woman's hand severed in lift accident at HDB block"; last Saturday).

A few months ago, I was assured by the Infocomm Development Authority and the Housing Board that lifts in HDB blocks are monitored by a tele-monitoring system (TMS) ("Mobile coverage in lifts not compulsory"; Aug 28).

They wrote that, in the event of an emergency, the Essential Maintenance Services Unit (EMSU) and town councils will be notified immediately by the TMS.

A rescue team would then be dispatched to assist residents trapped in the lift.

In view of the recent incident, I am sceptical as to the reliability of the TMS.

My confidence is further eroded by the episode related by Mr Ng Kei Yong ("All complaints about lifts must be taken seriously"; Tuesday).

He wrote that his wife was stuck in the lift in the middle of the night, and that he made a report to the town council and was assured that the staff would look into it.

But the next day, the problem occurred againand, after another phone call, he was told that the maintenance crew would be contacted.

Why was the TMS not activated during the emergency?

Also, if the TMS immediately notifies the EMSU and town councils, why is there a need for residents to call town councils,

and for the town councils, in turn, to notify the maintenance crew?

Could the authorities enlighten HDB residents on the reliability and efficiency of the TMS?

Chin Kee Thou

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2015, with the headline 'How reliable is lift-monitoring system?'. Print Edition | Subscribe