Do you ever read the safety procedures card when you are on board an airplane? Following the crash of US Air flight 1549 into the Hudson River, I know I’m going to review it on every flight I take. That flight was an amazing example of the benefits of following safety directions and an incentive for us all to review safety procedures.
Since we, as a society, travel so frequently on airplanes, we tend to be nonchalant about those safety instructions. I think we were issued a wake-up call with US Air flight 1549. Here is a review of those safety instructions we all take for granted. Repetition is the mother of retention, and this repetition just might save your life.
First- Pay attention to the safety demonstration. I know we’ve heard it a million times. And frankly, if you don’t know how to buckle a seat belt, you should not be allowed in public unaccompanied! Then again, every aircraft is different. Always take note of the nearest exit- AND count how many rows you are from it. In a dark or smoky situation, you may not be able to see Life jackets are located in the arm rest or under the seats. If you are forced into a water landing or are instructed to do so by the steward; take out your life jacket, put your head through the hole and pull the jacket over your head. Click the waistband clip and pull to tighten. DO NOT INFLATE THE JACKET UNTIL YOU ARE EXITING THE PLANE. To inflate your jacket, pull the tabs on the end of the cords. You may also inflate by blowing through the tube on the jacket.
Brace yourself for impact when instructed to. Return your seat back to its full upright position and assume one of two “brace positions.”
If the seat in front of you is close enough, put your head directly against the seat in front of you and lace your fingers behind your head, tucking your upper arms against the sides of your head.
If you don’t have a seat close in front of you, bend forward and put your chest on your thighs and your head between your knees. Cross your wrists in front of your lower calves, and grab your ankles. Your feet should be flat on the floor and further back than your knees to reduce injuries to your feet and legs, which you will need in order to successfully exit the craft after impact.
If you are instructed to leave the aircraft- LEAVE YOUR POSSESSIONS BEHIND. Stay low and proceed to the nearest front or rear exit.
Follow floor lighting to exit. Jump feet first onto evacuation slide. Don’t sit down to slide. Place arms across your chest, elbows in, and legs and feet together. Remove high-heeled shoes. Exit the aircraft and clear the area.