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Friday, August 05, 2005
All 309 passengers and crew escaped alive in an evacuation that took less than two minutes. Air France said 22 people were injured; airport officials said 43 were hurt.


WASHINGTON -- Dangers always accompany flying, but passengers can take precautions to improve their chances of surviving.

Q: What are my chances of surviving a commercial airline accident?
A: Good. A National Transportation Safety Board study found that while 2,280 people died in 568 commercial plane accidents from 1988 through 2000, another 51,207 survived.

Q: What can I do to improve my chances of survival?
A: Han an evacuation plan. When you take your seat, check where the emergency exits are and count the number of rows to them in case the lighting fails. Read the safety card instructions. If you are in an exit row, make sure you understand the tasks you may have to perform if the aircraft is evacuated. Stay alert during takeoff and landing because that is when an accident is most likely. Keep laptops and other items stowed until the plane reaches cruising altitude because they can become dangerous projectiles in an accident. Keep your shoes on.

Q: How much time will I have to evacuate?
A: The Federal Aviation Administration requires that planes be capable of being emptied within 90 seconds; any longer from fire or smoke inhalation increases significantly. If your plane is evacuated, look behind you for exit doors; many passengers crowd toward the front exits because that's the way they got on. Leave your baggages behind, but not in the ailes.

Q: How can I avoid injuries?
A: Wear clothing made from natural fibers. Synthetic clothing has melted on the skin of people involved in accidents. To avoid slide burns on escape chutes, wear long pants and do not wear nylon hose. Avoid heels, which can puncture the evacuation slides.

Q: What if slides don't work or some exits are blocked?
A: This happens up to one third of the time, according to the safety board. If a chute fails listen to the flight attendants for new directions.

Q: What has been done to make airliner cabins safer?
A: The FAA has done a lot to prevent in-flight fires. Seat cushions must be made of fire retardant material, lavatories have fire extinguishers, and cabin ceilings and walls must be made of material that doesn't burn quickly. The agency has ordered the insulation replaced or upgraded in some kinds of aircraft. Manufacturers now must install stronger seats that won't collapse or rip out of the floor.

(Associated Press: Leslie Miller)
posted by infraternam meam @ 2:11 PM  
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Name: infraternam meam
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About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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