4 Airplane Safety Tips You Won't Learn From the Demo
Why putting your oxygen mask on first is not a selfish act and more
Ladies and gentlemen, if we could have your attention please: No matter how frequently you fly, it’s always a smart idea to tune in to the pre-flight safety demonstration or video on an airplane. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, nearly 70 percent of passengers don’t — one reason airlines have been getting so creative about presenting safety information. Just try to look away from Virgin Airline's innovative "Safety Dance":
Even if you’re positive you know how to work the buckle on your seat belt, it never hurts to be reminded. But the demos don’t tell you everything. Here are some insider tips from experts.
“Please take a few moments to locate your
nearest exit. In some cases, your nearest exit may be behind you.”
You've heard these words many times, but in fact you should note where all the exits are, just in case the nearest one doesn't turn out to useable an emergency. According to the Flight Safety Foundation, “a panicked person
does not seek a range of solutions, such as searching for alternate exits,” so better to identify all the escape routes before take-off than
to trust yourself to find the best one in the midst of chaos. Though most aviation safety experts say there are no "safer" seats, a
2012 test crash study conducted by the Discovery Channel (for it's "Curiosity" series) found "sitting within five rows of an exit gave passengers the best odds" of survival.
Related: How to Survive a Plane Crash
“In the event of an
emergency, please assume the bracing position.”
Airlines don't usually say this anymore, they just refer you to the safety card in your seat-back pocket. The illustration will tell you to lean forward with your hands on top of your head, elbows against your thighs and feet flat
on the floor. But there's more to it than that. Airfarewatchdog.com points out that if you look carefully you’ll see that your fingers shouldn’t be locked together. One hand should be
on top of the other. Also, the hand on
top should be your non-dominant one. That way if something falls on you, your
stronger hand will be protected. Also, advises the Federal Aviation Administration, while in the bracing position your seat belt should be as low and tight as possible.
"A life vest is located under your seat or between the armrests." Or is it? Be sure to check if you'll be flying over water. People have been known to steal the life vests from planes, like this guy who swiped a couple to use as prank gifts and got caught. Stealing life vests from planes typically is a punishable offense.
“If you’re traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your [oxygen] mask first, and then assist the other person.” You'll hear this in every pre-flight safety talk, but you won't be told why it's important. In case you're a parent who thinks, "Heck no, I'm going to take care of my kids first," know this: When the oxygen levels inside a plane drop, you may begin to feel the effects of hypoxia — faster breathing, dizziness, headache, sweating — within seconds. According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the scariest of hypoxia symptoms is a feeling of euphoria that can cause you to think you’re safer than you — and your 5-year-old son or 85-year-old grandmother — really are.
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