THE BRONX - The city Department of Buildings is launching a new elevator safety campaign.
Accidents, although rare, have resulted in serious injury and death.
Officials say five died and 51 were injured in elevator accidents last year, and say the worst deaths occurs when passengers try to save themselves. Bronx resident Stephen Hewett-Brown, 25, was fatally crushed while trying to escape a stalled elevator on New Year's Eve in Manhattan.
Diana Rankins, a mother, says she has gotten stuck in elevators before.
"It is scary, because sometimes you don't have air," Rankins says. "I tend to freak out and go into the corner or press the button a lot."
When elevators malfunction, the DOB wants people to know they should 'Stay Safe. Stay Put.'
DOB officials say people should look down and make sure an elevator is level with the floor while entering and exiting. They say residents should not exit an elevator if it stops more than 9 inches from a landing.
They say people should press the door open button to hold elevator doors instead of using any body parts, and keep clothing items like ties and scarves clear of closing elevator doors.
They also say residents should avoid overcrowding a car and never lean on elevator doors.
Lastly, they say passengers should not jump inside elevators.
According to DOB guidelines, elevators are required to pass inspections at least twice a year.