Dos and don'ts in a mid-flight emergency

In Kenya, simple turbulence and a lady will hug the person next to her and start chanting. Jimmy Wanjala It is a fact that aviation is the safest mode of transportation in the world since the beginning of the first commercial flight. That is why you should stop creating panic on board an aircraft when an emergency happens. But, emergencies do happen. Good passengers would relax and let the professionals do their job as required. In Russia, we witnessed an engine explode mid-air and the passengers continued chatting normally. But Russians are Russians. In Kenya, simple turbulence and a lady will hug the person next to her and start chanting in her mother tongue, creating panic. One gentleman from Kisumu was noted saying, “Mimi Huwa sipandi hizo za mapanga kwa engine” (I do not get on those shaky aircraft). But when the jet engine failed mid-air, he started pacing up and down the aisle making strange chants. The other passengers joined in. It is an emergency not a funeral. Some passengers are alarmists naturally, and when an emergency happens, they will scream “tunakufa” (we are dying). Some passengers even hull insults at the crew. Reminds me of the Fokker 50 owned by a local airline coming from Mombasa and couldn’t land at Wilson Airport due to bad weather and diverted to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). The uncomfortable turbulence saw passengers attack the crew on social media, yet they landed the plane safely. That crew is your best hope of landing safely. Support them. Now, this is how you should behave during a mid-air emergency: - Listen to the safety briefing carefully before the flight. - Follow instructions of the crew to the letter when an emergency happens. - Panic in silence; this includes praying in silence. Let’s not be dramatic. - In situations of ditching on water, listening to the cabin crew is your best bet to survive, not screaming. - In case you are seating somewhere where you may be required to help (for example next to an emergency exit) ignore your bags and anything else and provide help as instructed. - If you get to the ground safely and you need to evacuate, please leave everything behind. Your life is more important than your laptop. By you picking up your hand luggage, you may delay other passengers and lead to their death. - If you are out of the aircraft safely, get as far as possible from it. Don’t be an obstacle to rescue operations. - If help is needed, and you are unharmed, kindly help. - Again, your luggage is not important when there’s an emergency. Think of yourself and your neighbour. Leave your luggage, everything else is replaceable; you are not. Finally, emergencies hardly happen, and you are using the safest mode of transport in the world when you fly. You can count the emergencies that have happened in Kenya; they are minimal. Sometimes emergencies happen and you never notice. Fly Safe.