If you fly regularly, you can probably recite from memory the airplane emergency safety drill, like putting on your own oxygen mask before helping your kids. But you probably don’t know why you need to. So, here’s some insider Intel about airline safety. This comes from Airfare Watchdog:

  • The oxygen mask. Here’s why you need to put yours on first: If the cabin decompresses, you have 20 seconds before the lack of oxygen causes confusion. You have 45 seconds before you pass out – and you need to be conscious to help others. Also, know this: The pilots will rapidly drop the plane to a lower, breathable altitude. So, expect to lose about 20,000 feet in about 3 minutes.
  • Make sure you’ve actually got a life vest. Every morning, airline personnel make sure each seat has one. But passengers actually take them as souvenirs. And since planes make multiple stops, anyone in your seat earlier in the day could have taken it.
  • The proper “brace for impact” position. That’s leaning forward, head covered, with one hand on top of the other – NOT fingers intertwined. Why? If something falls on you during a crash landing – like overhead luggage – you want to protect at least one hand. Probably the hand you write with, because you’ll have to unbuckle your seatbelt to evacuate.
  • Seatbelts. Before takeoff, buckle and unbuckle your seatbelt three times. During emergencies, passengers often panic, and think they're in a car, so they try to undo their seatbelt by pushing a button, instead of lifting a flap.
  • Emergency exit row lights. Why are they red instead of green, for “go?” Because red lights show up better in a smoke-filled cabin.
  • Shoes. Why do cabin attendants ask you to keep your shoes on during takeoff and landing? Because the runway may be burning hot after you jump down the slide.

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