Escalator Safety Features
Escalators have been in use for more than a century and have become a prominent feature of many public spaces and large shopping centers. They come equipped with benefits like being able to move large numbers of people without waiting; ease of placement in any area that could have a staircase; and efficiency at guiding people towards exits or a special exhibit. In a 2004 estimate, it was determined that the United States alone utilizes 30,000 escalators and that these 30,000 escalators are used on average 90 billion times annually.
Like all things, over time escalators have evolved. One of the key ways in which they have evolved and keep evolving is in their safety features. The earliest escalators had little more than a tread, a handrail, and a motor underneath. Now, they have any number of features designed to make them less dangerous for those who use them.
One of the key safety features now found in escalators is the deflector brush. The deflector brush is a long stiff brush that runs from the bottom of the escalator to the top at the edge of the step, on the outsides. These brushes are designed to deflect garments, shoes, and a variety of other items from the gap that exists between the moving step and the skirt board.
Another safety feature is the emergency stop button. Emergency stop buttons exist at either end of the escalator, and in some cases at intervals along the escalator as well, and are designed to stop the escalator in the event of an emergency. These buttons typically have a restart guard that requires that a key be used to restart the escalator after the emergency stop button has been pressed.