Emergency situations can happen unexpectedly. That’s why it is important for us to have a clear understanding of standard operating procedures for emergency evacuation. We define emergency evacuation as the immediate and safe abandonment of an aircraft using all available exits.
To ensure that well-prepared and informed, read company policies and guidelines on emergency evacuation.
Definition of airplane emergency evacuation
The term “airplane emergency evacuation” refers to an emergency evacuation from an aircraft that can occur on the ground, in the water, or in mid-flight by using all available exits. There are standard evacuation procedures and special evacuation equipment.
1- Aircraft safety cards
Aircraft safety cards describe evacuation procedures that are standard on commercial aircraft. These include finding and using emergency exits, using slides and flotation devices when landing on water, and so on.
An evacuation is more urgent than a “rapid disembarkation,” which involves exiting the aircraft through the normal doors while leaving luggage behind. Airliners are certified for a full evacuation in 90 seconds or less, but evacuation tests can be theoretical because real passengers may be older or overweight.
According to the FAA, approximately 30 evacuation events occur each year around the world, with a very high overall level of safety.
In 2017, passengers at Cork Airport misinterpreted the captain’s rapid disembarkation instruction as an emergency evacuation instruction and used the over wing doors and slides.
The ultimate goal of the aviation community is to prevent accidents, yet we are still a long way from constructing or operating aircraft without introducing failure. And, as recognized by many stakeholders, one major issue that requires rapid attention in order to increase the survivability of passengers in the event of an accident/incident is cabin safety.
2- Cabin safety
Cabin safety, as a result, cannot be clearly defined because it involves a wide range of responsibilities and interests, including crash worthiness, operations, human aspects, psychology, and biodynamics.
However, it can be divided into three primary aspects that interact with one another: impact protection, fire survival, and emergency evacuation.
There are two approaches for minimizing air travel fatalities: avoid accidents and protect aircraft occupants when accidents occur.
3- Evacuation and Crew Training
The odds of survival in the event of an emergency that results in ditching is primarily determined by the type and effectiveness of prior training received by the flight crew and cabin crew.
Adequate training is necessary to ensure that employees respond effectively to an emergency and to maximize the chances of successful ditching, evacuation, and subsequent survival.
Evacuations are classified into two types:
Those with enough time to brief the passengers and crew and arrange the cabin.
Those where there isn’t enough time to brief the passengers and crew.
emergency evacuation procedures
The following general emergency evacuation guidelines for passenger and crew emergency exit apply to both land and marine evacuations:
- More than one impact is to be expected in a ditching situation.
- Evacuation should not begin until the airplane has completely stopped.
- Before unlocking the doors, the engines must be turned off.
- Cabin crew members should commence evacuation as soon as the flight deck crew signals.
- If the flight deck crew issues any additional instructions, the cabin staff must comply.
If there is an emergency that the flight crew is not aware of and time allows, the cabin crew should contact the flight deck before beginning an evacuation; if time does not allow, the notice to the flight deck should be done concurrently with the start of the evacuation.
When there is serious structural damage, a life-threatening scenario (fire, smoke, impact forces, ditching), or an anomalous aircraft attitude exists and there is no response from the flight deck crew, the cabin crew should make an independent decision to commence an evacuation.
If one member of the cabin crew begins an evacuation, all members of the cabin crew must instantly follow evacuation procedures.
When a cabin crew member’s life is directly and imminently threatened, the cabin crew member’s personal safety should always take precedence.
Common Evacuations Issues
Communications, exit operations, passenger preparedness for evacuations, and the presence of fire, smoke, and poisonous fumes are frequently related with common safety issues during the evacuation process.
Emergency equipment in aircraft
Firefighting, evacuation, First-aid equipment, Emergency Locator Transmitters, Underwater Locator Beacons (ULB), survival equipment, and Life vests are all examples of emergency equipment.