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For Immediate Release
November 8, 2010

DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS KICKS OFF NATIONAL ELEVATOR ESCALATOR SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK WITH SAFETY CLASS AT PUBLIC SCHOOL 124 IN MANHATTAN

DOB Inspectors Teach Students How to Stay Safe and "Ring, Relax and Wait" When Riding the City's 62,000
Elevators and Escalators

DOB Provides Elevator and Escalator Safety Tips to Seniors
for the First Time

Buildings Commissioner Robert D. LiMandri and Deputy Commissioner of Enforcement Eugene Corcoran today kicked off National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week, an annual educational program promoting elevator and escalator safety awareness throughout New York City. Since 2004, inspectors from the Department’s Elevators Unit have taught thousands of students 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 past seven years, 109 children have been injured in elevator and escalator incidents in the City, including one fatal accident in 2008. In an effort to prevent future injuries, inspectors will be providing critical safety tips to more than 2,300 first, second and third graders in 16 schools throughout the City’s five boroughs. For the first time since the Department’s annual educational program began in 2004, inspectors will be visiting two senior citizen centers in order to provide safety tips to elderly residents.

“One elevator injury is one too many,” said Buildings Commissioner LiMandri. “Simple, common-sense tips on how to safely ride an elevator or escalator and react in an emergency can make the difference between an incident and a serious injury. That’s why this program is so important to New Yorkers of all ages. Over the past seven years, our experienced inspectors have been committed to this wonderful program, and I would like to commend them for their hard work and dedication to public safety.”

“Education is the key to preventing an accident,” said Deputy Commissioner Corcoran. “Elevators and escalators are a basic part of life for every New Yorker, and therefore, it is important to understand how to ride them safely and what to do in the event of an emergency. This educational program gives the City’s students and senior citizens the tools they need to protect themselves.”

Today’s kickoff event took place at Public School 124, The Yung Wing School, at 40 Division St. in Manhattan, where 160 students were joined by the “Safety Kat” mascot and Department inspectors, including one inspector who translated safety tips for Mandarin-speaking students. Inspectors focused on teaching 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 class, students learned the phrase “Ring, Relax, Wait,” which instructs them to ring the emergency bell when an elevator stalls and wait patiently for help to arrive. When elevators stall, some children attempt to pry elevator doors open, which can result in injury. The phrase, a key component of the Department’s elevator safety program, is also featured on a Department flyer that was translated into English and Spanish and distributed to facilities throughout the City to raise awareness.

During the safety class, students watched a short video to review tips for safely entering and exiting elevators and escalatorsand received educational coloring books, as well as certificates of completion and “Junior Inspector” badges. Throughout this month, inspectors from the Elevators Unit will visit students at two schools in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn, two in Queens, nine in the Bronx and one in Staten Island. Inspectors also will visit two senior centers in the Bronx and Brooklyn.

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. In conjunction with the week, the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation supplies some of the materials for the Department’s presentations.

Additional safety tips for elevators and escalators can be found on the Department’s website at www.nyc.gov/buildings.

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