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Escalators are very dangerous: Here's how to stay safe

dreamstime_m_56802616.jpgWe ride up and down them on our way to work. We use them at the office. We use them in shopping malls. There's no way to escape them: Escalators are a part of everyday life. They're also extremely dangerous.

The problem is that Maryland residents forget how dangerous escalators are, usually taking them for granted.

Do you remember the first time you rode one as a kid? You probably approached it tentatively and cautiously. You were probably alert to the danger of riding an escalator the first time you boarded one, but now your instincts have dulled. That's why it's time for an escalator safety tip review. The following tips could save your or a family member's life.

Keep these safety tips in mind when using an escalator

Here's what you should do to stay safe on an escalator:

  • Double check what direction the stairs are moving and step onto the first moving stair carefully.
  • If you're wearing glasses, be mindful that they could interfere with your distance perception.
  • Hold onto your children firmly.
  • Hold your packages firmly and keep a hand free on the railing.
  • Hold the handrail first when you step onto the device.
  • Don't burden yourself with wheelchairs, scooters, strollers, luggage or other awkward items on an escalator.
  • Keep any loose clothing away from the steps and the sides, and check your shoelaces before boarding.
  • Don't touch the sides as they move past -- stay clear of them.
  • Watch forward and hold one of the handrails at all times.
  • Never lean against or sit on the handrail.
  • Step off the device quickly when you've reached the end of the moving stairway.
  • Take care not to step on the combed fingers at the end.
  • Step promptly away from the end of the device so other passengers can deboard safely.

Many accident victims have died using escalators

Some escalators are suspended high from the ground, and there is the danger that someone could slip and fall off the side to their death. There is also the risk of getting trapped and tangled up in the moving stair parts. In addition, many escalators are faulty, damaged or poorly maintained -- and these devices can cause injury or death.

When an escalator accident is not the fault of the injured rider, the rider may want to learn about his or her legal rights and options in terms of the liability of the escalator owner.

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