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  • How to Survive a Plane Crash: 7 tips that could save your life


    Travelling on commercial airlines has become incredibly safe, and the odds of losing a life in an aeroplane accident is about 1 in 16 million, with the recent emergency on Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger plane in Moscow that ended in a fiery emergency landing leading to the loss of 41 innocent lives, and another incident when an Air Canada plane collided with a fuel truck at the Toronto airport that caused injuries to  5 people, it is important to realise that commercial airline accidents can still happen.


    While there are some fatal crashes that are unfortunately unsurvivable, and every airline emergency dramatically varies from each other, there are some crashes, which are survivable. The United States National Transportation Safety Board estimates that there is a 95% chance of survival if your plane ever encounters a fatal incident, and a study conducted in the US, identifies that a third of those who died in plane crash was due to the impact of smoke and fire, and the casualties could have survived if certain steps and precautions were taken.

    Here is a list of things to keep in mind before you get on a plane, as well as, after you are on it, to try and improve your odds of survival if you ever undergo such an experience.


    1. Don't Panic: This is the first rule for every emergency, panicking has been proven to be one of the highest reasons for not being able to survive most accidents, be it in an incident with your flight or for any other life-threatening emergencies. Remaining calm, composed, and attentive help you make conscious, and well thought of decisions during an emergency situation, as you are more aware of your surroundings, and dramatically increases your chance of surviving.
    2. Listen carefully to the safety briefings: While safety briefings can be long, tedious, and sometimes repetitive for frequent fliers, it is important to understand that every plane comes with new conditions. The locations of the exits, the placement of the life jackets,  processes of opening the exits, and the seat layouts can vary on each plane. People who listen to the safety briefings will be the ones who are aware of their surroundings and would be more quick to act fast during these emergencies.  Paying attention to these safety briefings conducted by the flight attendants or on your video screen along with reading the safety card, can make a significant difference and add to the possibility of you saving your families life as well as your own in a fatal situation. It is always beneficial to make an evacuation plan for yourself before you take off, as you won’t have time to make it later.
    3. Pick a seat within 5 rows of an emergency exit: We cannot stress the importance of being attentive and understanding the locations of the emergency exits on a plane. Majority of plane crash fatalities take place because passengers are not able to evacuate themselves in time from the plane after an emergency landing. If possible, try and book your seat as close to an emergency exit or at the most within five rows of an emergency exit, this will lower the chance of your time travelling inside a burning plane and increase the chance of you making out safely. Counting the number of rows you are away from the nearest emergency exit regardless of where you are seated and how familiar you may you think you are of the aircraft, will help you navigate your way safely out the plane in time, even if the cabin fills up with smoke and your vision is impaired.
    4. Be attentive during taking off and landing: Unfortunately, most plane accidents occur during takeoff or landing as that is when human intervention with the plane is at the highest stage. It would always be a good idea to be more vigilant and pay attention during takeoff and landing to make sure you increase your odds of surviving an incident as such. Avoid going to the bathroom, sleeping, unbuckling your seatbelt or taking off your shoes during that time window, instead be more alert, attentive, aware and ready to execute your plan of action if the need arises.
    5. Know how to brace for Impact: In the unlikely occurrence of the plane actually going down, and you have been warned to brace for the impact of the crash, take on the brace position which had been demonstrated by the in-flight safety briefing or in the safety card placed right in front of your seat. Try and clear the area in front of you, and stuff your carry on belongings under the seat in front of you, it also acts as padding to your legs and stops them from going under the seat in front of you and reduces the likelihood of breaking your legs during the impact. Also sure your seat belt is fastened tightly, as the more lose your seatbelt is, the more force your body will experience during the impact.
    6. Wear clothes that are practical and fit for travelling on a plane: While comfort is extremely important during your flight, dressing for survival is far more crucial to survive a plane crash. Wearing clothes fit for an evacuation is the key for a good escape! Avoid wearing flip-flops, or high-heeled shoes as it would have a detrimental effect when you are trying to run and escape. As mentioned above, most fatalities and lives are lost due to fire and smoke, as opposed to the impact of the air crash. Wearing long-sleeved t-shirts or jackets made out 100% cotton or wool (with lower chances of burning and melting), with jeans and closed sports shoes, would be the perfect attire to survive such an event. Do not wear synthetic fabrics and avoid it like the plague, they have the highest chance of catching fire and would easily burn your skin and try to carry a handkerchief that could be made wet and used to cover your face and protect you from inhaling smoke.
    7. Leave your possessions behind during the evacuation: Lastly, if you want to survive this, you have to dart out the plane as quickly as you can. Do not waste time in trying to carry your luggage. All material things can be replaced, and there is nothing in your bag that would be worth dying for! As soon as you get the opportunity, follow the designated evacuation route, don’t panic,  put your plan in action and get out of the plane as soon as possible! Once you are out of the way, get away from the wreckage as fast as possible and make your way to a safe zone.