10 Recommendations for a safe flight and how to act in case of an emergency

Vuelo 243 de Aloha Airlines 1988

Fuselage of Aloha Airlines Flight 243 after the explosive decompression in 1988

During 2012 a total of 475 people died as a result of fatal air crashes and accidents. According to the Aviation Safety Network, the numbers are considerably less than the 710 deaths that resulted from an average of 32 incidents a year through a decade (2003-2012).

Hundredths of thousands of flights take off and land safely from airports. The decisions that passengers make, as well as their actions, can make the difference between life and death in those rare occasions in which planes crash. Experts provide 10 recommendations for the passengers to be prepared in the unlikely case that there is a problem on their next flight, which are as follows:

  1. Keep your mind clear and your body calmed. Panic does not help.
  2. Have a plan. When boarding a plane, make yourself familiar with the surroundings. Visibility will be reduced in the case that the cockpit fills with smoke therefore, count the number of rows that distance your seat from the two closest exits.
  3. Pay attention to the safety instructions before take off and check the safety instructions card located at the front of your seat. Do not make the assumption that you already know everything as each airplane has different safety instructions. If you are seated in a row close to the emergency exit, make sure you know how to open it.
  4. Dress up properly. You will have to be able to keep warm if you survive a plane crash, so wear long sleeved clothing and trousers. Avoid wearing high heel shoes as you will have to take them off before evacuating the plane through an emergency slide.
  5. Keep your seat belt fastened, but remember how to unfasten it. It has been discovered that the people surviving emergency landings frantically look for the ways to unfasten their seat belts (at the hips, just like in a car.)
  6. Do not spend too much time looking for the safest seat, it might not exist. In 2007, the Popular Mechanics magazine published an article regarding an analysis of the data taken from the plane crashes and accidents that had taken place since 1971. It was discovered that the surviving rate was higher for passengers seating near the plane tail in comparison with passengers seating on the first rows of the plane.
  7. Check that there is a lifesaver vest before take off. You will find such inside a plastic container, usually located below the seat.
  8. Do not inflate the lifesaver inside the plane. In 1996, most of the people that died in the Boeing 767 from Ethiopian Airlines accident that occurred in the Comoros Islands, near Africa, have inflated their vests inside the cabin, which meant that they could not submerge I order to get to the exit doors when the plane was flooded.
  9. If the worst came to happen, prepare for impact. The idea is to avoid being quickly thrown towards the front of the plane. Put the back of your seat in vertical position and put your head below towards your knees or put it supporting the back of the seat in front of you. Put your hands behind your head but do not intertwine your fingers. Keep your elbows to the sides of your head, and not over your knees.
  10. If you must jump, do it. When the time to abandon the aircraft comes, the exit shall take place by the emergency slide. Jump putting your feet in front of you, your arms crossed over your chest and lean forward. In case of doubt, it is likely that one member of the crew pushes you.
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