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For Immediate Release
November 9, 2009


Inspectors Teach More than 2,000 Students How to Safely Use Elevators and Escalators

Buildings Commissioner Robert D. LiMandri today announced the Department of Buildings' Elevators Unit will present safety classes to more than 2,000 first, second and third graders across the City as part of annual National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week, which runs from Sunday, November 8 to Saturday, November 14. Elevator inspectors will teach children how to safely ride the City's 60,000 elevators and 2,200 escalators and what to do in the event of an emergency. Over the next two weeks, these educational classes will be given at 13 elementary schools in all five boroughs, the most presentations offered since the Department's annual program began in 2004.

Commissioner LiMandri and five members of the Elevators Unit attended the kickoff presentation this morning at Public School 19 in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, where more than 170 students received certificates of completion and Junior Inspector badges after participating in the event.

"In a vertical city like New York, elevators and escalators are an indispensable part of everyday life. We want to help children understand how to prevent an accident and prepare for the unexpected," said Commissioner LiMandri. "These classes serve as a fun and informative way to teach children how elevators and escalators operate. The more our children learn about these devices, the safer they will be. I would like to commend the Elevators Unit for their continued efforts in delivering these presentations which are so critical to public safety."

"It is important for children to understand how to safely ride elevators and escalators," said Harry Vyas, Director of DOB's Elevators Unit. "They may be using these devices every day and not know what to do in an emergency. These classes are useful because they focus on simple techniques to staying safe, such as holding onto railings, staying inside when an elevator stalls and ensuring shoelaces are tied before getting onto escalators."

 As part of the classes, students receive coloring books to help familiarize themselves with elevator and escalator parts and can ask questions on how to stay safe. Students also watch a short video which reviews important tips for safely entering and exiting elevators and escalators. Over the next two weeks, members of the Elevator Unit will visit students at two schools in Manhattan, three in Brooklyn, three in the Bronx, three in Queens and two in Staten Island. Since 2004, 99 children have been injured in elevator accidents across the City.

National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week is organized by the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation, a charitable organization formed in 1991 to promote safe elevator and escalator use. As part of the awareness week, the Department partners with the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation which supplies materials for the Department's presentations and others throughout North America every year.

Additional safety tips for elevators and escalators can be found on the Department's website at

Contact:     Tony Sclafani/Carly Sullivan (212) 566-3473