As we know, there are many people out there who are scared of flying. Most of the time, they picture the worst possible things that can happen, which includes a plane crash and having to survive on open water or a deserted island.
While it is true that statistically, cars crash more often than planes, it doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. Too often, the automatic reaction of people who are facing impending plane crash is to panic.
It is a normal human reaction when faced with critical situations. However, when your life is at stake, you will have to fight through it.
How to Prepare for a Plane Crash
Being prepared for the event of a plane crash is half the battle of surviving one. Knowing what to do and with your awareness, you can make fast work of following the safety guidelines, exit the airplane and help others if they need it. Here are a few tips that can help you prepare for a plane crash:
Break the pattern of thinking that everything will go the way it usually does, a phenomenon that researchers call normalcy bias.
This phenomenon causes the brain to experience a delay in processing when faced with something that it considered unpredictable. You can break through this phenomenon by having a clear plan on what you can if you find yourself in that situation.
Dress comfortably. While airport fashion is something of a trend these days, you have to take into consideration that you might have to fight for your survival during the trip.
Wear flat shoes and the most comfortable clothes you have. Mobility is an important aspect of surviving a plane crash.
Be aware of the aviation world’s “plus 3/minus 8.” This means that you have to pay attention to the first 3 minutes after the plane’s takeoff, and the final 8 minutes before the landing.
Your survival relies on how aware you will be during those minutes. Here are a few tips on how to keep yourself calm but vigilant during those critical minutes:
- Do not drink before you get on the plane and during the first few minutes. Your full mental capacity is required if you’re going to have to face a critical situation.
- Don’t try to fall asleep so that you won’t wake up in a state of panic.
- Follow the flight attendant’s instructions and make sure that your seatbelt is fastened and secured.
The aircraft’s safety guidelines are always in a brochure placed in front of your seat. Take the time to read and understand it. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask the flight attendants.
According to studies, there’s a significantly reduced risk if you’re sitting within five rows of the emergency exit. Researchers have also found that most survivors were seated at the rear, giving them 40% higher chances of surviving the impact.
Preparing for a plane crash can cause side effects like being paranoid instead of vigilant. This is the point where you should remember that flight attendants and pilots are specifically trained to get you from point A to point B.
Some circumstances can’t be helped and that’s where your preparation can save your life as well as your loved ones.
Steps to Surviving a Plane Crash
If you find yourself with any critical situation like a house fire or dealing with a house invasion, the first thing that you need to remember is to reign in your panic.
Experiencing a plane crash is no different. Because we don’t think it’s going to happen, we’re usually unprepared for it. However, here’s a quick fix to that problem: a step-by-step process of how to survive a plane crash.
Often, the crash is predicted and announced by the captain. Once you hear the announcement, take a few seconds to breathe in and out. Realize that there are people on the plane with you who knows what needs to be done to make sure that you survive. Help out the flight attendants by keeping yourself calm and making sure that you listen carefully.
Step 2: Fasten yYour Seatbelt
Make sure that it’s secure and tight enough to hold you in place. Now is not the time to worry about how your belly or any other body part will look or if your seatbelt will hold.
Those are designed to take 3,000 pounds of pure force. Remember that you’re gunning for your safety.
The moment that the oxygen mask drops, put it on yourself first before helping others put on theirs. This is a commonly debated issue regarding safety but remember that the reasoning behind this is that you’re no good to anyone if you’re oxygen deprived.
In high altitudes, a few seconds of oxygen deprivation can cause mental impairment and if you’re fighting for your survival, you will need all the mental faculties you have.
In case the anticipated result is crashing into water, put on your life jacket but do NOT inflate it. This regulation is backed by the fact that the crash to water might result in filling the cabin before you can get out of it.
With an inflated life jacket beforehand, it can result to you being pushed to the top and having no way to get out which will result to drowning.
As soon as you’ve secured your seatbelt, oxygen mask and life jacket, clean up and organize where you are to give you more space. Fold up your food tray and stow away and secure items that can cause you injury.
For your bags, it’s recommended that you put them under your seat to prevent your legs from snapping back. Make sure that there’s nothing on you that can delay you from exiting like untied shoelaces and flying jackets.
Go into the bracing position. This varies depending on your distance from the chair in front of you. If the chair is within reach, you can clutch the headrest and put your head in the space between your arms.
If it’s not close enough, you’ll have to lean your head on your legs and cover it with your arms. Usually, the safety guideline in front of you will show how to do it. Here are a few tips to help you determine if you’re in a good bracing position.
Your torso should be as low as possible to help cushion the jackknife effect of the impact.
Your head should be protected by your arms. If you can touch your head to your knees, that would be the best position.
Another tip that can help you through the impact is to put a pillow (if you have one) over your head.
Protect your legs. This is a very crucial part of your body aside from your head. Your fast exit is what you will be relying on after the crash.
Plant your feet firmly on the ground and if you have some overhead baggage, it would do you good to put it under your seat to protect your legs from snapping to the back. You can also put baggage in front of your legs to keep them in check or to act as a cushion.
Instruct your kids or your elderly companions to do the same as what you are doing. Although your first instinct is to help them, make sure that you have ample protection for yourself first. You’re no good to them if you’re injured.
What to Do After the Crash
After you’ve managed to survive the impact, the next thing to do is to exit the plane as fast you can. Here’s a few tips on what to do right after impact:
- Most research found that you have a maximum of 90 seconds to get out of the plane before the situation takes a turn for the worst. Fire will spread and debris can fall and block the exit. You need to think and move fast while remaining calm.
- Remember your loved ones. Because the human instinct dictates self-preservation, panic can set in and drive you to take yourself to survival. While it might sound harsh, this is still a very possible scenario. Look out of the people you love and get them out.
- Listen to the flight attendant’s instructions right after the crash. Always remember that they have training for these kinds of situations. Be as calm as possible and help them contain a panicking crowd if you can. Avoid a stampede or a riot. Cooperate and assist as much as you can.
- Do not attempt to salvage any of your valuables. Forget them and move to the exit as directed by the flight attendants or as instructed by the safety guidelines. Do not attempt to get bags from the overhead bin. You need to have free hands because stability is very crucial. With only 90 second to get out of a destroyed plane, you have no time to stumble and fall, especially with the all the people fighting to get to the exit with you.
- Be wary of smoke. If oxygen deprivation threat didn’t harm, the smoke surely will. If you detect or even smell it, drop down and crawl toward the exit. Use a cloth to cover your nose and mouth as you breathe in and out the entire way. If it’s possible for you to wet the cloth with something, that would be ideal in warding off the smoke.
- Before you use the designated exit, assess the situation outside. Is there anything that can hurt you like burning debris or sharp parts that could potentially do more harm than good? Do not rush out until and unless you are sure that it’s safe for you to go through that exit.
- If you crashed on land, once you get out, run at least 500 meters or feet upwind from the plane. The next thing you need to worry about after surviving the impact is a fire or explosion. A considerable distance away from the plane will protect you from being blasted off or being impaled by flying debris.
- If you crash on water, keep your calm. Planes are usually equipped with a life jacket or a life raft. Either way, if you followed the safety procedures, you should be safe in the water to float for a few hours. If your plane is equipped with a life raft, then you are safer as it is required with emergency supplies like a first aid kit.
- After everything has relatively settled, stay in one place and assess the situation you’re currently in. Put pressure on bleeding wounds and make a temporary brace for broken bones. The next part of surviving a plane crash at this point is to live to tell the tale. Keep warm. Find whatever clothing is available to protect yourself from hypothermia.
- Patiently wait for rescue to come. The scary part is it might take days but keep yourself from worrying about it. A plane is a big thing to go missing and a lot of people are going to go out and look for it. Keep your calm and only think about surviving days at worst.
A plane crash is s unexpected and you have no idea what can cause it because of the many factors involved in it. It’s a hard thing to prepare for, but knowing what to do is your best shot at surviving such a critical situation.
One of the most important things to remember is to ensure your safety before anybody else’s. Although you might want to put that gas mask on your child or elder first, remember that you need to ensure your own safety so that you can protect them until help arrives.