Cabin Crew have been trained in first aid, delivering babies, putting out fires, learned self-defence, know how to single-handedly deal with terrorists and what to do with a bomb, and know how to evacuate an aircraft in as little at 90 seconds.
But as passengers we hope that none of that will happen on our flight, and instead we can relax with free food, drink and entertainment served to us by these trolley dollies, waitresses in the sky. Right?! Well kind of, 96% of people will survive a plane crash and your odds of being in a plane crash are 1 in 1.2 million but it is necessary to listen to the cabin crew. Even though your odds are extremely low, when sh*t hits the fan, there may not be anytime to think things through, rationally at least. Making yourself familiar with the safety demonstration may save your life and those around you. There are other factors than an actual crash to consider, there could be a loss of oxygen in the cabin, or a precautionary emergency landing.
Before each flight departs you will watch a safety demonstration (safety briefing, pre-flight safety briefing, safety video), which is a detailed explanation about the safety features on the aircraft, of which you may have seen thousands of times, but every aircraft type is different, and the person sitting next to you may not have heard it and you could distract them.
Not necessarily in this order, but you will hear the following, and here is the reasons why you hear it…
There is a Safety card in the seat pocket in front of you, review the safety information card prior to take-off As stated, you may not have time to read this again if there is an imminent crash or emergency happening, make yourself familiar with your surroundings.
The safety card explains the various Brace positions that must be adopted on hearing the "Brace Brace" command during an emergency landing.
Your nearest exits will be pointed out to you but also pay attention as to how many rows to the exits, your nearest exit might be blocked. Know your exits!
It looks funny when the crew put the yellow life jacket over their heads and you wait to see them blow into the whistle and pull down on the toggle, but if you ditch (land on water) then this is very important. Check the location of your life jacket under your seat by giving it a squeeze. You will hear the crew saying ‘do not inflate until outside the aircraft’ this is the most important thing to listen to here, inflating your lifejacket inside a submerged aircraft will impede your exit.
Seat belt - Yeah, bet you think that’s an easy one, but did you know most people forget how to un-clip their seat belt in an emergency as their brain reverts to a normal car seatbelt operation. Also always keep it fastened throughout the flight, not only does it stop you getting woken up if there is turbulence, but if there is unexpected turbulence then you don’t have to have a mad panic of re-fastening.
Oxygen Masks (not included on some turboprops which do not fly high enough to need supplemental oxygen in a decompression emergency) will be deployed during a cabin decompression, where air is sucked out of the aircraft. The time of useful consciousness will drop within 30 seconds, you will start to feel groggy and euphoric, thus making it harder to put your mask on. After 45 seconds you will probably pass out. This is why you should always fit your own masking before helping others. Even if they have passed out you can put on their mask, if you do others first such as children, the disabled, or persons requiring assistance, then they may not be able to help you! Oxygen will automatically flow through the mask- the plastic bag may not inflate, do not panic if you cannot see the bag inflate.
Seatback in upright position, arm rests down and tray tables folded away These objects may intrigue you, but it is all to do with adopting the brace position, as having the seat upright will ensure the passenger behind you has the right room to brace, and it will also be easier to get out of your seat. Arm rests down are to secure you more in your seat and not having a moving object when landing, tray tables folded is also, so you can adopt brace position and leave your seat easy.
Floor lighting is also pointed out, you will probably not see the lights illuminate until such an incident as the impending crash but know where to look as this will guide you to the nearest exit (there may be smoke which impairs your vision of physically seeing the exit)
Emergency exits/ over wing exits Those seated in an emergency exit row will receiving a briefing before departure stating they may be required to assist the crew in an evacuation. It is also worth noting this information if you are sat in the rows adjacent.
Mobiles and electronics not permitted This one is ever evolving as new aircraft technology adapts (it is said that mobiles and electronics could interfere with the flight deck instruments). Generally, mobiles will only be allowed on if in ‘flight safe mode’, or at least for the critical phases of flight- taxi, take- off and landing. However, the important thing to note is, that if a passenger loses an electronic device under a seat, the passenger should not adjust the seat as this may damage the device or even cause a fire. Instead, the passenger should notify the flight attendants to locate the device safely.
Headphones You are asked to remove your headphones (on some airlines) this is done so you'll be able to hear safety instructions.
Dimming cabin lights these will be dimmed during the hours of dusk and darkness, this is to acclimate your eyes to outside conditions in case you need to exit the plane in an emergency.
Window blinds So you want to close your window blind as its too bright/ you’re trying to sleep and the crew as it to be raised for take-off and landing, how annoying! But this is actually so you can observe the outside conditions, should you see smoke, fire or another abnormal situation and make the crew aware.
Stowage of bags Bags must be placed in the overhead lockers or pushed well underneath the seat in front of you under feet in front of you. You cannot have anything blocking or obstructing the aisles. In an emergency evacuation, leave all belongings behind! It will impede your exit or those left behind you. Nothing in your bag is more important than saving your life or a fellow passenger
Removal of High Heels This one might intrigue you, but it is as simple as if you are to evacuate the aircraft on a slide, you could puncture the slide and impede everyone’s exit. It is best to wear flat, comfy shoes with laces.
Remember that in an emergency, cabin crew are trained to calmly instruct passengers how to respond, given the type of emergency. They go through rigorous annual training. Providing a safety demonstration prior to each departure helps equip you with knowledge of how to re-act in a bad situation, remember it’s highly unlikely that you or I are ever going to be involved in a serious aviation incident, but if it happens then it is likely to be survivable.
Also, did you know that those that listen to the safety demonstration are more likely to survive a crash? Oh and also it is rude not to listen to someone when they are talking to you.
Have a safe flight and pay attention to the safety Demo, it may well save your life!
We hope we haven't scared you here, if we have go check out our post 'Planes don’t just drop out of the sky'