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Press Release

For Immediate Release:
December 3, 2012


Elevators Unit Teaches Elementary Students How to Stay Safe While Riding the City’s 60,000 Elevators and Escalators

Inspectors Teach Children to “Ring, Relax, Wait” During Elevator Emergencies

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri today launched the Department’s 9th annual Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week at Public School 16 Leonard Dunkly in Brooklyn. As part of the national program, the Department’s Elevators Unit visits schools throughout the City each year and teaches first, second and third graders how to stay safe when riding the City’s 60,000 elevators and escalators. All New Yorkers, especially children, use these devices as a part of their every-day life – in apartment buildings, at shopping centers and to access public transportation – and therefore, safety education is a critical component to ensuring public safety. Under the program this year, the Department’s Elevators Unit will teach more than 1,500 elementary students citywide about elevator and escalator safety. 

“Knowledge is the key to preventing future accidents, and that’s why this program is so important,” said Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri. “As a New Yorker, riding elevators and escalators are a part of life, and our goal is to make sure the youngest New Yorkers understand how to protect themselves at all times. Each year, inspectors with our Elevators Unit travel across the City to teach students these simple, easy-to-remember tips and encourage them to share the tips with their families. These safety tips can save lives.”  

During today’s launch at Public School 16 Leonard Dunkly at 157 Wilson Street in Brooklyn, the Elevators Unit and the program’s mascot, “Safety Kat,” taught more than 125 first, second and third graders what to do in the event of an elevator or escalator emergency and the Department’s elevator safety slogan, “Ring, Relax, Wait.” As a key component of the safety classes, the “Ring, Relax, Wait” phrase reminds children that in an emergency, they should first ring the elevator’s safety bell, then wait for help to arrive – instead of trying to pry open the doors and get out of the elevator, which can result in serious injuries. 

Each safety class begins with a short video narrated by “Safety Kat” on the importance of taking safety precautions when using elevators and escalators. When the video ends, “Safety Kat” comes alive and helps the Elevators Unit teach the rest of the class. At the end of the class, students are each given a certificate of competition, a “Junior Inspector” badge, an educational coloring book and the Department’s Elevator/Escalator Safety Flyer, which is printed in both English and Spanish. Students are encouraged to bring the materials home and share what they learned with their families. Some of the 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 and hold onto the 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; it can cause them to be uneven with the floor and/or stall 
  • Don’t use any part of your body to hold the elevator doors open 
  • Never lean on the elevator doors or attempt to pry them open 

National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week is organized by the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF), a non-profit 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 walkways. 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. 

Additional elevator and escalator safety tips can be found on the Department’s website at

Contact:     Tony Sclafani/Gloria Chin (212) 566-3473
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