All you need to know about flight safety awareness
A correspondent with Airfare Watchdog discovers things that most passengers don’t know on the BA Flight Safety Awareness Course, which anyone can join. Among the highlights: you can jump down an emergency slide, see what happens when you pull the cord on a life vest, evacuate a cabin filled with smoke, and practice the “brace position”.
Many questions are also answered. For example, the reason you have to put on your oxygen mask on before helping a child is that in a cabin decompression there may be just 15 to 20 seconds before you lose consciousness. And, in the brace position, why place one hand over the other on your head and not with the fingers locked together? Because at least one hand should be protected if something falls on you. Why do red lights, not green, indicate an emergency exit? Because they are more visible in a cabin filled with soupy smoke.
The instructors on the course also recommend that passengers do their own safety drill each time they fly just before take-off – fastening and unfastening their seat belts three times. The reason? “It’s muscle memory. In an emergency, people panic. They think they’re in their cars and try to release the seatbelt by pushing a button rather than lifting a flap.”
And why are there handles by the emergency-exit door, just inside the plane? In the panic of an emergency evacuation, when cabin crew are standing by the doors, “passengers, in their mad rush to get off, have a tendency to push them out of the way, sometimes all the way down the slide. The handles are there to make sure that the flight attendants stay on the plane if that’s what they need to do.”
Airfarewatchdog / Yahoo! Travel
[pictured: BA 747 takes off at Heathrow; courtesy oneworld]