Surviving a Plane Crash: 101
While air travel is one of the safest methods of travel, you never know when a plane might be shot out of the sky or have its landing gear malfunction. Recently, there have been several incidents in the news pertaining to plane crashes, and it’s important to know exactly what to do in case you should ever be in one.
Before the Plane Takes Off
Preparing for a crash begins before the plane ever leaves the runway and before you even leave the house. Planes are cramped, and we know that you want to be comfortable, but it’s best to wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants and shoes with laces. These clothes can help protect you when the plane crashes and are less likely to catch on debris.
Once you’re on the plane, choose a seat near an exit. When the plane goes down, you’ll want to get out fast. Also, studies have shown that people who sit in the rear of the plane have a higher likelihood of survival in a plane crash.
While everyone hates having to listen to the safety talk at the beginning of each flight; pay attention. It’s actually good information. You should also have a plan of action in case the plane starts going down. Note the exits, obstacles, etc. and decide the best way to get to them or around them.
In the Air
There are any number of things that can cause a plane to crash ranging from technical problems to storms and outside aggression. When the plane begins to fall, the most important thing you can do is keep calm. Cooler heads will always prevail and will keep you alive. If the plane was at a high altitude, then you’ll have a few minutes before the actual impact.
Take stock of your surroundings. Are you over water? Are you in an area of extreme heat or cold? Grab a life preserver and put it on or search for a nearby blanket. You might want to keep a coat in your lap during the flight as a precaution.
Prepare for impact by putting your head between your knees. This is called a “brace position.” If there isn’t room, then place your hands on the seat in front of you and rest your head against it. Do not lace your fingers or you risk breaking them.
On the Ground
You survived the crash and now you need to get out. If there is a lot of smoke and fire, then grab a piece of cloth or clothing and cover your mouth. This can help prevent dangerous smoke inhalation. Remember your plan for exiting the plane. While your laptop is expensive, don’t bother trying to grab it on your way out of the plane. Just get out and forget any of your belongings. Once outside, get at least 500 feet from the plane in case of explosions.
When a safe distance from the plane, wait for other survivors and make sure to tend to any injuries you may have. Take stock of what you have in the way of food and water as it may be a while before emergency personnel can get to you.