In Case of Crash, ‘Don’t Take Anything With You’

Slides deployed on Boeing partial fuselage trainer at Condor Flugdienst in Frankfurt

By Jonathan Spira on 5 August 2016
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One of the commands ingrained in my mind after various short stints in flight attendant training classes is “Jump! Jump! Don’t take anything with you” and variations on that theme such as “Come this way! Leave everything!”

As some safety videos put it, “In the event of an emergency, leave your personal belongings behind.”

Images of passengers emerging from a burning Emirates 777 on Wednesday showed many travelers collecting and exiting the aircraft with their luggage, which was nothing terribly different than what was observed when the Asiana 777 crash landed in San Francisco three years ago.

While all 300 passengers and crew members survived the Emirates crash, one firefighter died battling the blaze.

These images roil safety experts, flight attendants, and pilots alike. Stopping to grab one’s bag – or even taking it with you during the evacuation – not only endangers that person but everyone behind as well. A bag, regardless of how small, can block someone from exiting the aircraft safely and will undoubtedly slow down the person carrying it and those behind.

“Everyone in the airplane could potentially be affected by these attempts” to take carry-on items with them, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a study on emergency evacuations in 2000.

Carrying a bag is particularly dangerous when jumping down the emergency slide and it can severely compromise flow control, the term that describes directing passengers to all available exits for the fastest possible evacuation during an emergency landing or ditching.

If you find yourself on an aircraft that is being evacuated, just keep repeating the simple command “Don’t take anything with you” and head towards the nearest available exit. Your belongings can be replaced. You cannot.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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