Who Are We? 

In 1988, the National Association of Safety Authorities International (NAESA International) established a committee to investigate the possibility of forming a Foundation to educate the public, particularly children, on how to safely ride elevators, escalators and moving walks.

A group made up of inspectors, suppliers and contractors explored the task. The committee determined that in order to succeed, they would need the entire elevator industry involved.

The idea was presented to a Bridge Builders meeting at the next National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) convention. The Bridge Builders had been established some years earlier as an informal forum to bring together all of the industry’s associations to identify mutual problems and preclude duplication of efforts by the organizations. All of the major elevator manufacturing companies attended, as well as the President and Executive Director of all the national associations in the elevator industry.

The Founding Organizations

Development of the Safe-T-Rider® Program

The founding organizations were the National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII®), NAEC, NAESA Intenrational and Elevator World, the industry trade publication. Each organization committed to provide sufficient funds to establish the first program. In 1989, the Elevator/Escalator Safety Council was organized. The group researched the availability of government grants to help fund the program, engaged a noted specialist in children’s education for advice, and reviewed numerous programs directed toward changing children’s behavior, such as Smokey the Bear.

It took two years to develop the first program, Safe-T Rider, which consisted of an 8 1/2 minute video, teacher’s guide, poster, coloring books, certificates, tests, stickers and buttons. During the first year when the program was field tested, it also included a pre-test and a post-test to effectively evaluate the efficacy of the program. The buttons were discontinued as a cost saving measure. During these two years, the organization also became a full-fledged 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation so all contributions would be tax-deductible.

Since the introduction of Safe-T Rider and with the help of hundreds of volunteers, the program has been sent to over 6 million children, teachers and parents. Each year, the Foundation has been able to solicit sufficient donations to increase the number of school districts receiving Safe-T Rider. The materials are free of charge to any public or private school wishing to participate.

Foundation of the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation of Canada

In 1994, the Canadian elevator industry established the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation of Canada (EESFC), purchased Safe-T Rider and introduced the program to Canadian children. Quebec translated the video and Safe-T Rider now raps in French, as well as in English. As of 2014 the program is in the process of being updated however the older version is still available. 

Development of the A Safe Ride® Program

In 1996, in conjunction with the National Safety Council (NSC), the Foundation began research to develop a new program, A Safe Ride. The program would be created to instruct adults, particularly senior citizens, on the safe use of elevators and escalators. Senior citizens are another at risk group for avoidable accidents when riding on elevators and escalators.

The A Safe Ride program was introduced at the 1997 Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA) convention. Sixteen elevator companies participated in that convention and each company distributed free copies of the A Safe Ride video to valued customers. The Foundation’s A Safe Ride Program for seniors is provided free of charge to Area Agencies on Aging and senior citizen centers in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, NAEC, NAESAI and the Canadian Elevator Contractors Association (CECA) purchased and distributed copies of the A Safe Ride video to their membership. The majority of elevator manufacturers have also purchased the video to their various offices. It is the Foundation’s wish that every senior citizen and every building manager and owner will eventually see the A Safe Ride video. Also, the National Safety Council distributed copies of the new program to all of their offices throughout the U.S.

National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week

Celebrated during the second full week of November each year this week publicizes the general safety rules developed by the Foundation. Many communities have distributed materials, obtained Proclamations from mayors and governors, and gotten 30 or 60 second public service announcements on local television stations. In 1996, the Safe-T Rider program was seen on the “Today” show which meant 8 million people got the safety message. 

The Foundation’s website, www.eesf.org was created in 1996. Since then the Safe-T Rider and A Safe Ride programs have become available online as interactive programs. These programs were developed in direct correlation to the hard copy versions available to schools and senior citizen facilities. Now those who use the internet can educate their children online; and seniors can view the program on their home computers. 

As part of the initiative to continuing to reach other segments of the public, EESF has plans to develop new programs. The William C. Sturgeon Endowment Fund, a restricted matching gift fund, can be used to help finance future program development. Currently, the Foundation is considering programs to address transit authorities, airports, colleges and universities, stadiums and arenas, housing authorities, gaming facilities and retail outlets.

Since its creation, EESF has developed an assortment of safety programs to educate a wide range of riders on the equipment the elevator industry manufactures, sells, installs, repairs and maintains and will continue to do so into the future.

Development of Rise Up Safe Rider

The Rise Up Safe Rider program materials are user-friendly for universities, malls, airports, and transit systems, as they are generic in the safe riding rules with eye-catching graphics.

EESF and Elevator U worked together for several years to create a campaign for the university setting. Several universities were invited to participate in the development of the program. Concepts were used from Communication classes at both Michigan State University and Purdue University. Initial components plus an entertaining video for students explaining safe riding methods were developed by Michigan State University.

The final program was presented at the 2010 Elevator U Conference


As our population gets older more and more will be using elevators escalators and moving walkways. The information shared in this handout is important. Ideal for any location where large populations of older adults live or visit, like nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities. 


The Ambassador Employee Training Program

For anyone who works around elevators, escalators or moving walkways this program is designed to help you recognize when unsafe riding habits are taking place and why it's important to correct/stop them. In addition knowing some important safety items such as where to locate the emergency stop switch for escalators in the event of an injury will also be shared. You will be armed with the knowledge of becoming an ambassador for elevator, escalator and moving walkway safety.  Perfect for anyone working at a location such as airports, malls, sporting arenas, transit systems.