Complacency of Own Safety During Air Travel

By January 9, 2020 January 21st, 2020 General, IATA and ICAO, Lithium Batteries, Regulations, Safety

As a former member of the Canadian Armed forces, I have always tried my best to keep keenly aware of any possible hazards/dangers that could affect me, my family, or others. I have never been one to stand by idly and say nothing or do nothing. I have noticed a trend developing lately in air travelers where it seems the majority are seemly unaware or oblivious of safety regulations and the reasons why some rules even exist.

I remember as a teenager embarking on my first flight in the mid-1980s being very attentive to all demonstrations; looking at every exit; observing every rule. It was easily noted that every traveler was watching the hand gestures of the flight attendant, knowing where our life jackets were, and again knowing the location of the nearest exit. But, as air travel safety has improved it seems complacency has increased. I have noticed hardly anyone listens to the flight safety briefing anymore as they are more preoccupied with taking their shoes off and looking at their phones.

Here are a couple of rules that exist and why:

NO lithium batteries in checked baggage
It is imperative to not check any lithium batteries in your luggage. If a lithium battery in your electronic device fails, thermal runaway occurs. The heat at which it will burn will melt aluminum which is what aircrafts are made of. This type of fire is very difficult to put out as it requires a class D type fire extinguisher. This extinguisher is not available in the cargo holds of aircrafts, hence the reasoning behind this rule. Putting your lithium batteries in your carry-on baggage is the only option on commercial passenger aircrafts.

Keep shoes ON during takeoff AND landing
Most incidents that occur with aircrafts happens on the ground or during take-off and landing. If an evacuation becomes necessary, the FAA requires an evacuation time of 90 seconds, using only 50% of the exits. If you can imagine a fire being present, the burn through time for an aluminum alloy fuselage skin takes anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds. Having to put on your shoes can take away valuable time to exit and to escape the flames.

I hope if anyone has been wondering why rules on aircrafts should be followed, this helps clarify. Something horrible must have happened to create these regulations, and we as air travelers need to follow them.

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Elton Woodfine

Elton Woodfine

Elton Woodfine CD (Canadian Decoration) served 22 years as a member of the Canadian Forces. Initially as an Infantry section Commander in the Princess Patricia Canadian Lite Infantry (PPCLI), he served on two peace keeping missions in the former Yugoslavia, and one combat tour in Afghanistan where his unit was awarded the Governor General Unit Citation for actions in combat. He then continued to serve as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force as a firefighter, where he completed a diploma in Fire Science/ Fire-fighting from Memorial University and Occupational Health and Safety diploma from the University of New Brunswick. Lastly, in his career with the Canadian Forces, he served as a member of the Joint Incident Response Unit (CJIRU) as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Operator (CBRN Op), part of the Canadian Special Operation Command (CANSOFCOM). Upon his retirement from the Canadian Forces, he took a position as a Life Cycle Management of hazardous materials instructor for the logistical branch of the Department of National Defense and is knowledgeable in NFCC, CEPA 1999, IMHWR, TDGR, ICAO, IATA, IMDG, GHS and OH&S federal regulations.