NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new safety campaign has been launched to educate the public on elevator safety and what to do in case you ever get stuck in one.

New York City is home to more than 71,000 elevators and every person who stopped to speak with CBS2’s Alice Gainer said they’ve been stuck at least once in one of them.

From five minutes to 30 minutes, locals said they remained calm, called for help and were rescued without issue. However, last year two people were killed in separate incidents while trying to escape stalled elevators.

Last October, a stalled elevator opened between floors and a 37-year-old man was crushed trying to get out when the elevator suddenly moved. On New Year’s of last year, something similar happened, killing a man.

Despite fatalities, the New York City Department of Buildings said injuries suffered by elevator passengers has decreased over the years.

“In 2007, there was approximately 105 accidents across the city, compared to last year it was 51,” Department of Buildings Commissionaire Rick Chandler said.

He said the goal is to get the number down to zero. A new public service announcement says “if the elevator gets stuck, the safest place to be is inside.”

The “Stay Safe, Stay Put” campaign is urging people not to panic and to wait for help.

“Never ever try to pry the doors open. Never ever crawl out of an elevator even if the doors do open in between floors. It’s just not worth it,” Chandler said.

Another safety tip to keep in mind before you enter and exit an elevator is to always make sure that the bottom of the elevator is level with the floor.

“If it’s not level it could be that the system is still adjusting to the floor level. Not uncommon to have a little bit, but if it’s around eight to nine inches, I would wait for someone to come fix it,” Chandler explained.

Officials are also warning against putting body parts in between closing doors to try to open them. They said if an elevator looks too crowded than don’t get on, reminding New Yorkers that staying safe is always worth the wait.


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