For some people, embarking on a flight can be a frightening situation. March 8th 2014 saw a Malaysian Airlines flight go missing entirely. Another Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down on July 17th 2014, and most recently, an Asia Air flight went missing in December 2014. Yet, air travel is still an important part of our society. So what can you do to increase your chances of survival in a plane crash situation?
We had a good think about it and came up with the following suggestions..
Some of us want to be comfortable on a flight, while others try to look professional. When deciding on what to wear to the airport, imagine you have to run from a burning plane. Shoes are very important here – high heels or sandals will not do you any favours. Wear comfortable, lace up shoes that will not slip off or trip you up. Sensible shoes will also protect you from glass, metal and flammable liquid.
Also consider your clothes. Loose fitting clothing can get caught on obstacles when trying to exit the plane. It is best to wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt. Not only will these items stay close to your body when making an exit, but also keep you protected during impact, lessening the likelihood of receiving burns.
Consider your route. If you are flying over large bodies of water, pack a few items that will help you if you land in the water. One of the biggest dangers is hypothermia. Pack extra warm items of clothing in your bag (this needs to be a small enough bag that you can keep close to you at all times) – preferably wool. Wool retains its insulating properties when wet more than other materials. If travelling with young babies, pack a blow up ring-floaty that you can blow up quickly and secure them when in water.
Where to sit on the plane
There is a lot of confusion over which are the best seats on an aircraft for increasing your chance of survival. Some people say that you sit over the wings of the plane, as these seats are made with re-enforced metal. However, studies have shown that the best seats for surviving a crash are at the back end of the plane.
One study was conducted by a British Channel 4 documentary, The Crash. For their tests, they flew a Boeing 727 in to the Sonoran Desert in Mexico. The plane was carrying cameras, sensors and test dummies.
Upon impact, the whole first 11 rows of seats were ripped off. This area is usually kept for first-class passengers. The force at the front of the plane was double that further back in the plane. None of the first class passengers would have survived. Further back, 78% of the passengers would have survived, and this increased the closer they were to the rear of the plane.
Ensure that you are sitting near an exit, if possible. If you have to disembark the plane in an emergency then you want to be the first to get off the aircraft.
Be ready for the impact
The flight attendant will go through this at the beginning of every flight, but it can be difficult to pay attention if there are distractions happening around you. Practice the FAA procedure in a quiet room before your flight, so that it will come naturally to you in case of an emergency.The official FAA crash position is to extend your arms, cross your hands and place them on the seat in front of you, and then place your head against the back of your hands. Tuck your feet under your seat as far as you can. If you have no seat in front of you, bend your upper body over with your head down and wrap your arms behind your knees. Always stow your carry-on bag under the seat in front of you to block the area.
If you are travelling with family, run through an emergency scenario before you fly. Give simple but clear instructions to your children on what to do, and share the responsibility with your partner on who is taking control of which child. Have a clean, simple plan and, if you do have to put it in to action, both you and your children will be calm and efficient.
Air Safety Myths
There are some stories out there telling us that certain safety measures employed by the airline and crew are just methods of calming passengers in the stressful situation. These theories are widely believed, yet are untrue.
1. Oxygen masks are used only to keep you calm
This statement was famously circulated by the character of Tyler Durden in Fight Club. However convincing his theory may be, this is wholly untrue. If the cabin loses pressure, everyone on board is breathing the air at 30,000 feet, which is extremely lacking in oxygen. To put things in to perspective, Mt Everest peaks at 29,029 feet. The oxygen level will only improve if the plane is stabilised at around 10,000 feet. Therefore, if you want to be able to breathe, keep your mask on.
2. Wearing your seat belt can do more harm than good
Wearing a seat belt on a plane is similar to wearing your seat belt in a car. Although it can slow you down if you need to make a quick escape from a crashed plane, it at least can keep you alive when the plane crashes. If you are not wearing a seat belt, you can be thrown out of your seat, hitting in to another passenger or a wall. It is better to take a little longer to get out of your seat when you land, rather than experience injuries during the landing.
3. You have no chance of surviving a plane crash
Despite the recent crashes of 2014, the odds of surviving a crash are way higher than you would expect. The figures of the National Transportation Safety Board show that 95% of passengers involved in accidents on US carriers between 1983 and 2000 survived. (An “accident” is an event “in which any person suffers death, or serious injury, or in which the aircraft receives substantial damage.”)
Good luck and safe travels ya’ll!