Tips For Surviving A Plane Crash

Friday, January 16th 2009, 9:16 pm
By: News 9

By Craig Day, for NEWS 9

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Flight attendants are being credited with quick action to get all of the passengers out of the plane safely during a New York City plane crash. 

When a plane crashes, studies show survivors have just 90 seconds to get out.  Many in the aviation business say the evacuation of US Airways flight 1549 was remarkable in its calmness and efficiency.

"To sit there and witness on TV and see that plane staying afloat as long as it did, and passengers standing on the wing, it was pretty remarkable," said Lonny Glover with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

The 150 passengers and five crew members were forced to escape as the plane quickly became submerged up to its windows in 36-degree water.

"When the evacuations and stuff like that happens, that's when all that training that we have to go through each year kicks in.  And, it is like second nature.  It just comes into play and I'm sure that's exactly what these flight attendants on US Air did," said Lonny Glover with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

That training includes evacuation drills, including what to do during situations similar to Flight 1549.

All flight attendants must undergo a six week initial training period.  They have recurring training every year in a wide range of areas.

The FAA's Civil Air Medical Institute in Oklahoma City develops some of the training adopted for each individual airline's safety program.

One plane crash scenario shows what passengers can do during an emergency.  Experts say beforehand, listen to instructions and find the closest exit.  And, during an emergency, don't worry about luggage and stay calm.

"Panic leads to chaos, chaos leads to confusion and in these types of situations, if you have a level head about you and you're able to think through the process, you're more likely to get off that aircraft in an accident or evacuation," said Lonny Glover with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

6 Key Points Passengers Need To Know To Get Out Of A Plane Crash Alive:

1. Listen to your Flight Attendants and their safety instructions/announcements they provide.

They go through extensive training every year and are prepared to handle these situations. They are your first responders and your best life saving resource in an aircraft emergency/evacuation. They are there of these purposes.

2. Pull out the emergency briefing card in the seat back pocket and review it.

Most passengers unfortunately feel they know their own surroundings and have been on the planes frequently. This time the plane may be changed to a different type. The exits maybe located in a different area and may operate differently than the ones you are use to.

3. When you sit down count the # of rows/seats to your nearest emergency exit...both in front and behind you.

If the plane is damaged or filled with smoke and you need to get out it could be a very chaotic environment in the cabin. It is best to know how many rows you may need to go in the dark cabin to get out. Also, the exit closest to you or the one you boarded through could be blocked. Know where the next available one is and how close it is. It could be right behind you.

4. In a smoke filled cabin breathe through a piece of your clothing.

The leading cause of death in aircraft accidents is usually the toxic smoke from burning material/debris. Not every passenger carries their own protective breathing equipment (PBE) or hood to use in these emergencies. It is best to stay low as the smoke travel up toward the ceiling. Cover your nose and mouth with a piece of your clothing to filter out the smoke.

5. During an emergency evacuation....leave your carry-on luggage behind!

Passengers trying to remove luggage from the bins in an emergency is taking up precious time to evacuate. You are blocking the aisle and delaying others trying to evacuate. Studies show...everyone has approximately 90 seconds to get out! Key here: which is more important....your laptop, your suitcase or your life? It's an easy choice.

6. Stay Calm, Don't Panic

Panic leads to chaos and confusion. Regardless of the situation, those with level, clear heads are more alert and can focus on getting out!