Exit row seating – are you ready, willing, and able to assist in the event of an emergency?

safety_emergency_exit_boratEarlier this week we talked about being prepared in times of crisis.  Like the oxygen mask in an airline, a well-designed plan can assist you in taking what could be a catastrophe and keep it from rising above a minor inconvenience.  I heard back from several readers who are frequent flyers and have experienced the loss of cabin pressure. Their summary of the situation was in a few words – no big deal.

Like I said on my previous post, I fly a lot.  I am not bothered in the least by any sudden unexpected changes.  However, I have witnessed panic in first time flyers when there is turbulence.  Utter terror sets in if the oxygen masks drop down due to a loss of pressure.

This is where today’s post picks up.  When you are a leader, it’s not about you and your comfort.  It doesn’t matter if the current crisis is no big deal for you; it’s about your team and what you can do to help them through their response to the emergencies.

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What would you do if the airline cabin suddenly lost pressure?

airplane air maskI frequently travel on a commercial airline for work and vacation.  Sometimes a month or two goes by and I realize that I have barely listened to the airline attendants as they recite their prepared safety speech before take-off. You know the speech I mean, the one that tells you what to do in the unlikely event that something bad happens.

Each airline has basically the same message: how to operate the seat belt so you remain safely in your seat in the event of turbulence; how to inflate the life jacket so you don’t sink in the event of a crash landing in the water; how to find the exits in the event that the cabin fills with smoke; and of course how to use the oxygen mask so you can breathe in the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure.

According to the FAA, from 2002 – 2007 there were only .01 fatal airline accidents per 100,000 flight hours or .018 fatal accidents per 100,000 departures. So, why do they repeat this same message on every flight if the rate of fatal accidents is so low?

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