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Press Release

For Immediate Release:
November 14, 2011

BUILDINGS COMMISSIONER ROBERT LIMANDRI KICKS OFF NATIONAL ELEVATOR ESCALATOR SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK AT PS 9 RYER AVENUE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN THE BRONX 

Students Taught How to Stay Safe While Riding the City’s 62,000 Elevators and Escalators 

Department’s Elevators Unit Reminds Children to Remember the Safety Slogan – “Ring, Relax, Wait” – In the Event of an Elevator Emergency 

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today launched the Department’s 8th annual National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week at Public School 9 Ryer Avenue Elementary School in the Bronx. As part of the program, the Department’s Elevators Unit will teach more than 1,700 first, second and third graders across the City’s five boroughs how to stay safe when using the City’s 62,000 elevators and escalators. In a vertical city like New York, children use these devices on a daily basis, and safety education is critical to ensuring public safety.  Since bringing National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week to the City, the Department has taught thousands of children how to safely ride New York’s 60,000 elevators and 2,400 escalators. In recent years, the Department has expanded classes throughout the month of November in an effort to reach more children and prevent future accidents. Commissioner LiMandri joined inspectors and school officials at today’s kickoff class at Public School 9 Ryer Avenue Elementary School at 230 East 183rd Street in the Bronx. 

“Education is the first step in preventing accidents,” said Commissioner LiMandri. “This wonderful program allows our inspectors to equip young students with the tools they need to stay safe when riding in an elevator or on an escalator. These simple yet important tips can save their lives, and our inspectors should be commended for organizing such an important program. I encourage more schools to participate so more students can understand how to ride safely.” 

At Public School 9 Ryer Avenue Elementary School, the Elevators Unit and the program’s mascot, “Safety Kat,” taught more than 200 elementary students what to do in an emergency when riding elevators and escalators. That includes explaining the program’s safety slogan, “Ring, Relax, Wait,” which reminds children to ring the elevator’s safety bell in an emergency and wait patiently for help instead of trying to pry the doors open. 

As part of the safety classes, students also watch a short video narrated by “Safety Kat” on the importance of following safety precautions when using elevators and escalators. At the end of the class, each student is given a certificate of competition, a “Junior Inspector” badge, an educational coloring book and the Department’s Elevator/Escalator safety flyer for children, which is printed in both English and Spanish. Students are encouraged to bring the materials home and share what they learned with their family members. Throughout the month, the Elevators Unit will visit more than 10 schools throughout the City.

Tips discussed during the classes include: 

  • Step on and off of elevators/escalators carefully 
  • Make sure elevators are level with the floor before exiting 
  • Always face forward when riding on escalators 
  • Hold onto the escalator’s handrails 
  • Never touch the sides below the escalator’s handrails 
  • Keep items like loose clothing, ties, scarves and shoelaces clear of closing elevator doors and the spaces between escalator steps 
  • Avoid jumping in elevators so the devices do not stall or become uneven with the floor 
  • Do not use any part of your body to hold the elevator doors open 
  • Never lean on the elevator doors or attempt to pry them open
  • If an elevator gets stuck, remain calm and wait for help

National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week is organized by the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF), a charitable organization formed in 1991 with the mission of using informational programs to educate the public on the safe and proper use of elevators, escalators and moving walks. Under the guide of the EESF, hundreds of thousands of elevator and escalator safety classes are taught every year throughout the United States. As part of the program, the EESF provides some of materials used during the Department’s presentations. Safety tips for elevators and escalators can be found at www.nyc.gov/buildings.

Contact:     Tony Sclafani/Jen Gilbert (212) 566-3473
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