Sunday marks the start of the 19th annual Elevator and Escalator Safety Awareness Week, held from November 11 – 17.

With the holiday season almost upon us, we’d like to take the time to remind everyone of the importance of elevator and escalator safety while traveling through malls, airports and crowded buildings. Malls and airports become particularly crowded this time of year, and many passengers riding elevators and escalators can be preoccupied with holiday lists and have their hands full of bags and winter wear.

It’s easy to forget simple safety precautions, such as holding on to the escalator railing or holding on to children’s hands. But education is an important part of reducing and eliminating accidents.

Here are a few safety tips for you and your family to keep in mind this holiday season:

• Watch your step when stepping on or off an escalator. Be especially aware of children with soft-soled shoes and untied shoe laces. Make sure to step over the comb plate; don’t let your feet slide off the end of the escalator.

• Keep feet firmly on the step of an escalator and away from the sides.

• Don’t let your children play on or around an elevator or escalator – although they’ll try!

• Hold onto the handrail and face the appropriate direction when riding up or down an escalator.

• Small children should always be accompanied by an adult and their hands held during the ride.

• Don’t rest items on the escalator handrail or lean against the sides.

• Children in strollers should never be transported on the escalator – take the elevator instead.

• When exiting an escalator, move clear of the area since other passengers may be behind you.

• Don’t jump into an elevator once the doors begin to close. Wait for the next one instead.

• Push and hold the “door open” button or ask someone in the car to push it for you. Never try to stop a closing elevator door with your body.

• Passengers nearest the doors should exit first when elevator doors open. Keep in mind that you may need to step out of a crowded elevator to let others behind you exit before stepping back in and proceeding to your floor.

• Watch your step when entering or exiting an elevator.

• In the event of an emergency use the “alarm” or “help” button and wait for assistance, never try to climb out of a stalled elevator.

Escalators and elevators are one of the safest modes of transportation. Taking time to remember safety first will help ensure happy, healthy and safe holidays.  Please, spread the word and share the above guidelines with your friends and family.

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