How to Survive a Plane Crash
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Itís every air travelerís worst nightmare: a fatal crash. The very thought of a life-ending accident drives many to avoid flying altogether -- and the thoughts aren't exactly easy to avoid either. There is something about hurtling through the air, packed into a metal tube, with several thousand pounds of highly combustible jet fuel at forty-thousand feet that does seem innately dangerous. Actual air crashes, however, are very rare but their high media and public interest profile make fatal crashes seem too common for comfort. Fortunately, there are general strategies for survival -- all well documented, extensively researched and thoroughly discussed. Experts and survivors have amassed stories and advice from decades of commercial flying. If the unthinkable does happen then heeding their lessons can increase your chances of surviving an air crash. Crucial steps you take before you board, during flight, and after an incident will help ensure you walk away from a crash with your life.
Some Quick Facts
Over three million people travel by air every day in a variety of capacities. When considering the safety of flying note the wide variety and modes of transport; not all planes are created equally. Airlines and private charters have totally different safety regulations to abide by. Air travel is still the safest way to travel when measured by miles traveled to crash incidence. In America, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found the survival rate of people involved in plane crashes to be over 90%. NTSB records of 568 plane crashes from 1983 to 2000 show that 51,207 of 53,487 survived Ė so your survival odds are good.
Wear the right kind of clothing. Wearing long shirt and pant sleeves and close-toed shoes is advisable for any survival situation, especially in the event of an air crash. Post-crash exposure is just as serious a threat to survival as walking away from an air crashís initial shock. When selecting clothes, consider avoiding synthetic materials as they can melt to your skin if you are exposed to flames.
Seat selection is a hot-topic when it comes to air travel safety. Is there a safer seating section? Yes, there is -- the rear sections on a typical airline jet. The statistics and data gathered after crashes show that those seated in the rear of a plane had a 40% greater chance of survival than those who werenít. Statistically, there is also a higher chance of survival if you are close to emergency exits.
Pay attention to all safety instructions, even if you are a frequent flyer. Know where the exits are on a plane, the best route to them and how many rows there are between you and that exit. If the lights are out, and there is fire and smoke in the cabin, knowing these things can save you valuable seconds. Itís also important to know the location of flotation devices and how to operate the oxygen masks, should they need to be deployed. You have less than 20 seconds to fix your mask during a loss of cabin pressure before a loss of consciousness.
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