Most people when they think of surviving an airplane crash say to themselves, an airplane crash, you got to be kidding, it’s death when an airplane crashes. Not so true, in fact, actually about 80 of all air plane crashes are not fatal at first. They wind up fatal because passengers make mistakes in their behavior post crash, and they wind up dead as a result.
Your first step as a passenger entering the airplane is to make an assessment of your environment. You are probably not aware of this, but a stewardess’ primary purpose on the plane is to ensure your safety, and not get you drinks or peanuts. The moment you walk onto a plane and greet the stewardess, she is a trained observer of human behavior as it relates to an airplane. She is constantly making assessments of each passenger. Who is in shape, who is traveling alone, who is alert, and who can I go to if there is an incident on board, I need help?
You as a passenger should be making the same assessments. As I make my way down the aisle, I am looking at every passenger. I am noting where every exit is located. If I have children with me, I have them physically count the number of seats between exits, and where they are sitting. This ensures that if they must exit quickly either in a fire or a smoke situation, they can count the seats in the dark, and know where to turn to exit. If this should be necessary, they and you must get down low to the ground because smoke rises. Never however crawl – you risk being trampled by the people around you.
So you are in the plane, you know who’s around you. You know where you are sitting and where all exits are relative to your seat. Now take out the chart and booklet describing the plane. Maybe 1 out of 50 passengers does this, but it is vital, and when the stewardess goes through her lecture on safety, you must listen to and process every word. She is aware of who’s listening, and who’s ignoring her. Most passengers don’t pay attention, but she is offering you the details on how to save your life.
Some notions however do not make much sense. Floatation devices are a good idea if you in fact wind up in a water situation. Statistically that is so infrequent that one can argue that it is not worth the time. The reality is that if a plane crashes in water with no survivors, the flotation devices will allow for a much quicker round up of the victims as opposed to searching for the bodies for weeks. The government will not tell you this however.
Who survives and who dies in a survival situation is based primarily on two qualities. The first is your brain, the smart survive, and the dumb die because they do dumb things. The second quality is your coolness amidst hysteria. You will be surprised to learn that coolness is not about bravery, bravado, guts, toughness or anything like that.
Coolness is about having a plan and then executing that plan well, subject to changes while the action is going on. Hollywood movies, where shootouts occur, whether with police or the military are notorious for being poorly done, as well as unrealistic. As an example, in a fight scene in a Hollywood movie, you will see magnificently executed kicks to the chest and head area. In reality, you attack the ankles, legs, and knees. If your opponent can’t stand, he can’t fight, it’s that simple.
Similarly, as you sit in your airplane seat, you have to think through a plan to save your life and your loved ones if a situation should occur. Always wear your seat belt while in flight by the way, and this goes for your companions as well. I have hit air pockets that have the dropped the plane thousands of feet in the air, and forced anybody not wearing a seat belt up into the air, headfirst, into the luggage racks above. So wear the seat belt. Do not drink booze on the plane. If you do, you will drastically cut down on your response time and physical abilities if a situation should occur.
Alcohol is a depressant, and a mood altering drug, but you already knew that. The first stop for booze is your stomach. If you haven’t eaten, it goes directly into the blood stream. If you have food in you, it will slow down the absorption of the alcohol, just like water will. The alcohol immediately moves to the brain where it goes right through the blood brain barrier without slowing down. This barrier normally blocks bad substances from making it in, but not alcohol. It will distort your judgment, coordination, perception, diminish your reflexes, create confusion, and cause aberrant behavior. Put it all together, and you have little chance of surviving an incident on the plane.