What not to do in a plane emergency

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In May of 2019, 41 people were killed in Moscow when Aeroflot flight 1492 was forced to make an emergency landing. The plane landed, caught fire and passengers were directed to evacuate.

It is believed that more people could have safely exited the plane and survived if it weren’t for the avoidable actions of some passengers. Video footage of the event showed passengers blocking aisle as they struggled to collect carry-on luggage from overhead bins.

In a statement, the Association of Flight Attendants has said, “We will never know if more lives could have been saved if the bags were left behind.”

Plane seats are getting smaller and smaller and the number of passengers on flights is increasing. Still, passengers are expected to exit a plane in 90 seconds in the case of an emergency.

kid reading plane evacuation instructions 

While the idea of losing your passport, laptop and personal effects isn’t attractive to anyone, there is no time to stop and grab them. Your belongings aren’t worth your life or that of another passenger.

Plane crashes are unlikely, but preparing yourself for a worst-case scenario could save you or a fellow passenger. The easiest way to do this is to listen to the flight attendants’ safety run-through at the start of each flight. Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard it before, but if Aeroflot flight 1492 has taught us anything, it’s that common knowledge can slip your mind when you’re under pressure.

It’s important to note your nearest exits, listen to the instructions from the crew in the case of an emergency, and abandon your belongings in the case of an evacuation. Take note of the people sitting around you. Is there a child or injured person nearby who may need an extra hand if things were to take a turn for the worst? Or is there someone around who you might be able to ask for assistance should you need it yourself?

Don’t panic. In the case of an emergency, passengers panicking and pushing past one another to get to the exit may slow the flow of traffic and place more people in danger. In the case of a runway evacuation, which is more likely than a water evacuation, passengers may hurt themselves when exiting the plane. Rushing is likely to increase the risk of injuries.

Finally, don’t disobey the flight attendants. As tempting as it may be to try and commando-crawl across the tops of headrests to the exits, the escape routes for emergencies have been designed by the experts and give every passenger the best chance of a safe and swift exit.

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3 Comments

Total Comments: 3
  1. 0
    0

    I fly a lot. One of the things that I do is always to carry my passport, wallet and camera on my so that if there is an emergency situation that I survive I can function wherever I happened to be. If I die then hopefully the task of identification is easier.

  2. 0
    0

    In my oil&gas career we had to learn to escape from an upside-down helicopter underwater. And re do that training every two years. That was no fun even in a swimming pool with divers on hand to help you out if you got stuck!
    As a frequent flyer I always used to hope that any crash would come suddenly at the start of a flight rather than later when you have had that long boring bit first!

  3. 0
    0

    Good article and an important reminder. As a former fire warden for my workplace I know about defiant individuals and those know-it-alls who will not listen. I fly quite a bit so watch Air Crash Investigations quite a lot to give myself the best chance should anything happen. I also always read the emergency card on every flight as every plane is different. The gasses produced by burning plastic and other materials on planes is particularly bad as it can disable your muscles making it impossible to move but you are still awake. That’s why it’s very important to cover your mouth and nose with something first. If you can wet a scarf, handkerchief or whatever first from the water bottle they usually give you onboard all the better. The flight referred to in this article was particularly bad. If you watch a video of the flight the plane only caught fire when the pilot landed very heavily hitting the rear underbelly of the plane on the runway causing the back section to burst into flames. Due to other people’s stupidity those at the rear of the plane, including children, lost their lives. Wearing high heels and shoes with buckles is also a ridiculous thing to do because if someone punctures the slide no-one else is able to get off the plane as the slide deflates and planes stand too high off the ground to be able to jump without injury. You can evacuate a plane in 90 seconds if those on board all do the right thing. It has been tested but only by using staff who know what to do. Unfortunately the plane has to land first so if the emergency happens while in the air (especially a fire) you have to rely on the skill of the pilots to be able to put the plane down safely first and this takes up precious time so you have less time once you land. Personally I would not want to live with myself if I caused the deaths of others by being irresponsible.


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