View Full Version : Should passengers practice emergency evacuations?

2nd May 2004, 02:08
Having seen the umpteenth pre-flight safety video, I got to thinking -- how much of this are we going to remember in a real emergency? Why not have the passengers practice evacuations from a small percentage of flights upon landing? We do fire drill evacuations at work and school -- why not on aircraft?

Final 3 Greens
2nd May 2004, 08:15
You are joking, I hope?

Let me give you a clue, airlines have simulators to practice emergency procedures, including cabin sims.

Evacuation is an emergency procedure and people get injured doing it.

People would also get injured practicing it in a real aircraft, to say nothing of the potential damage to the aircraft and having people milling around on the apron.

2nd May 2004, 11:30
They can, sorta.

I was involved with a Sydney Airport exercise in 2000 that involved the public (SES volunteers- note not SAS, different mob).
We used an F27 as the medium sized turboprop and an emergency was simulated. Fire crews, ambulances etc were involved as well. The "pax" did the brace position and used a door to get out. Whilst not jumping out of a window it served the purpose.
So, in Sydney, if you want to practice this you can join the SES and volunteer for when the next Airport drill is on.

SES = State Emergency Services. A fine group of volunteers who clear roads after storms, put tarps on roofs, participate in searches and rescues.

2nd May 2004, 20:16
A reaonable idea, but highly impracticle.

So many variables in every crash situation make it nigh on impossible to practice with realism anyway and just consider a few of the other reasons that airlines/pax etc would find NOT to do this, for example...

Insurance issues, having very young children with you, health and safety issues created by practicing evacuation, aircraft out of service whilst the drill is carried and then checked for damage etc, intoxicated pax, having to get all of the hand luggage off afterwards, the list is endless.

I appreciate that some of these factors would create problems in a real emergency, however these are thankfully so rare that I doubt that any benefit gained would be worth it.

Why not have the passengers practice evacuations from a small percentage of flights upon landing?

What is the likelihood of this small percentage of passengers that have experienced the drill being involved in the very small percentage of real emergencies that actually occur ? I would say almost none.

The only option I can think of is a voluntary course you could attend if so desired on evacuation, to enhance ones chance of survival.

Sharjah Night Shift
2nd May 2004, 20:37
I would be happy to attend a voluantry course, even if I had to sign a disclaimer and pay a fee. Have any airlines considered offering this as a jolly for their frequent fliers?

The reward for doing this would be first pick of the exit row seats.

2nd May 2004, 23:39
Well air2000 are now 1st Choice but you might still be able to buy this sort of training here:


"Alternatively, our training facilities can provide a unique opportunity for corporate entertainment._ Have you ever wondered what it would be like to evacuate down an aircraft slide?"

How's that for a pre drinks venue for an PPRuNe SLF bash? :D

3rd May 2004, 17:37
What Redsnail describes is similar to something they did last year at YPPH:

Exercise Freebird '03 (http://www1.perthairport.com/content.aspx?CONTENTID=252)

A simulated crash landing on the field took place, complete with injured "passengers", and utilising the services of Police, Fire, Ambulance & SES. I also recall something about media having command posts at the terminal as in a real situation. There was even a notice to motorists in the paper not to worry if sighting smoke etc coming from runway. (I just hope they remembered to tell the pax! :eek: )

Definitely going to go watch it all next time.

On the subject of evacs, as has been said, not very practical. Can you imagine having to re-stow slides after they've been used (on bigger a/c that is) Doesn't that usually require a day in the shed?

Though I think courses would be a good idea for FF etc, could prevent injuries like the QF F/O who apparently took a dive off a slide during an evac because a fire extinguisher he was carrying caught on the chute... ouch! Just basic stuff, a "Smart Flying" course, if you will, what to wear asCoconuts has suggested. Maybe keeping afloat in case of ditching? I wonder how many of us (pax) have ever tried swimming fully clothed...? I have (shoes inc) and it ain't as easy as you think!

I always count my seat rows from front to back when flying... some may think I'm paranoid... I prefer to call it prepared! ;)


3rd May 2004, 18:29
Coco Quote:Perhaps it would be even a good idea to educate pax on the best way to dress for flights.

To be honest, I never thought of that, thanks, I'll remember that the next time I fly.

I bet that the pax pay attention if the safety briefing is announced the SECOND time, during the flight.:E

4th May 2004, 07:57
Following on from Coconuts, in F/A training, when you practise evac, ditching etc, do they make you wear normal clothes or uniform? I'm curious as does not seem much point if not practising in what you are actually going to wear :confused:

my don't they dress FA's practically.

Perfectly agree. I recall of one FA in particular, think it may have been either the Sioux City or the (manchester?) crash where an otherwise ok FA got horrendous burns from melting stockings...

C'mon, give it some thought, designers! (to think of it, health reg makers as well)


5th May 2004, 00:25
As already stated a 'live' evacuation drill is not really practical. Look at the behaviour of most passengers as soon as the aircraft is down to taxy speed, seatbelt off, mobile phone on, out of seat all in spite of being told for their own saftey not to do any of these things, imagine therefore the reaction at being told there would be a slight delay leaving the a/c for an emergency evac' drill. The reaction alone would make it invalid, I imagine a mighty groan and complaints of 'We just wanna get off' and a lack of co-operation, not comparable to panic reactions involved in a real emergency.

Totally agree with all other comments regarding being pro-active regarding your own safety.
I too count seat rows both forward and back to exit rows, if I'm not in one already in one in which case I have studied and remembered the operating instructions for that particular door. Ensure I have my shoes on and tied during take off and approach and landing. Avoid nylon/synthetic clothing (cotton is best of all) and suggest to any female travel companions that they do the same particularly re tights etc as mentioned, they're particularly nasty in fire, better off with nothing, and besides a nice tanned pair of legs ....... ;) and prefferably clothing that covers arms and legs fully, doesnt have to be heavy.
Also keep the belt done up at all times when seated, I really dont know why this isn't mandatory, its no hassle, it doesn't need to be that tight, just enough to be effective but so you wouldn't know it was there, saves you constantly sitting on the buckle and might just save a serious headache or worse should some unexpected turbulence be encountered. None of them are any trouble but all put you a few steps ahead.

Small things alone perhaps, but a little preperation can go a long way when it really counts.

5th May 2004, 06:21
Cabin crew are trained and retrained constantly in evacuation procedures, including exit operations, crowd control, smoke-filled cabins etc .... At QF we are re-examined on our skills (and yup - we can fail the practical exercises) twice a year, sometimes three times.

Passengers should be aware of the safety features of the aircraft, it is airline's responsibility to explain them in a clear and concise way ..... but the customer's responsibility to listen and take notice! I agree that counting rows of seats to the nearest exit is a good idea (at QF we now include that suggestion in the Safety Demo).

Practising evacuations for cusomters? I dunno why you would want to, it isnt that exciting, and the slides hurt (burn!), you usually walk away with a few bruises .... even the wet drill (life rafts) is cold, uncomfortable and a lot of hard work!! Most crew detest Emergency Procedures training - it is in no way 'enjoyable'

In a real evacuation, the best thing for customers to do is just to listen and follow the directions of the crew - crew are the only ones who need to be trained in it, as we are the ones who control the evacuation/ emergency..... and believe me, we are taught very well how to 'control' such situations :)