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Shopping trip? Or shopping disaster? Which path is the better one taken: steps or escalators?

It's true. Escalators serve as a transportation device typically used to carry people from one floor of a building to another via a moving staircase. In fact, escalators are often built in places like shopping malls, underground train stations, and airports. But do these 'electric powered steps' always afford us with the care needed? Often many of us try to convince ourselves to take the old-fashioned manual stairs in order to get where we need so as to burn a few extra calories, however even with the benefits they afford, many of us rely on escalators as a modern convenience. Some argue the benefits outweigh any risk while others argue to the contrary.

Proponents of the escalator say that its use is an alternative to the mundane staircase, elevators (which are usually walled-in with no view), and the moving sidewalk seen mainly in airports. The escalator's primary purpose is its ability to move groups of people at once from one area to another, with some escalators, such as those implemented in the London Underground infrastructure, spanning particularly long distances. People can move both upward as well as downward when a pair of escalators is typically deployed next to each other. That is an advantage over an elevator, which can only go one way at a time with generally a much smaller capacity.

Furthermore, traveling on an escalator requires little physical assertion. Escalators offer plenty of space, too, especially when compared to an elevator or narrow staircase where people may be jammed together. Having free space coupled with the fact that escalators are automatically switched on can help individuals hop on with by simply standing still.

An escalator is also efficient. It gives individuals the opportunity to travel between potentially many floors of a building in a relatively short amount of time, when compared to a staircase, for instance. And compared to an elevator, escalators reduce the waiting periods one would typically experience while pushing the up-down buttons and having to wait your turn.

Escalators are an effective means for guidance and circulation. In a complex transport situation, such as a MARTA, escalators are used to reduce congestion and avoid excess waiting time. It keeps people moving from one point to another. As part of their ability to reduce and control congestion, escalators offer an advantage to building managers in that their speed can be adjusted to reflect how quickly crowds need to move. Escalators can also save energy during quiet periods, since they can be turned off, essentially becoming a staircase.

However, riding the escalator bears some risk and can have some unfortunate consequences. In the U.S. alone, about 10,000 escalator-related injuries per year result in emergency department treatment. The first reports of escalator-related injuries in Europe appeared in London in 1969. Twenty years later, 10 patients per month sought medical attention due to escalator accidents. In another study on escalator-related injuries, more than half happened in public transportation facilities and about 33% in shopping malls. Needless to say, there has recently been an increase in escalator-related accidents. Despite this increase in accidents and the possible severity of the resulting injuries only few statistics on escalator-related injuries have been published worldwide, mostly studies on children and case reports. And these accidents aren't only limited to under-aged children who happened to get a shoelace stuck in an escalator while boarding one, it can happen to anyone. Even your everyday construction man carrying a ladder can get stuck in one and suffer from a serious injury.

So the next time you decide take a stroll through Lenox, Northlake, or Perimeter mall, be cautious of your surroundings and be very careful with escalators and gaps. In case you or someone you know has been injured due to poorly maintained escalators that may not have followed industry standards, contact us to seek the representation you need to get the damages you deserve.

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

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