Aircraft are equipped with numerous types of emergency equipment that comes in handy when an unforeseen or emergency situation necessitating immediate action presents itself. For the operational safety of the aircraft and the protection of the passengers and crew, emergency equipment can save the day when unprecedented circumstances arise. It is worth noting that accidents involving commercial passenger flights are rare. In fact, commercial air travel is considered the safest mode of transportation on the planet, bypassing cars, boats, bikes, and more. This is especially the case for American airlines, which are recognized as being the safest among global operators.
In the United States, airline accidents kill 0.006 people per billion miles flown, with most of these occurrences involving small air taxis or private aircraft. For this small percentage of incidents, emergency equipment provides a swift approach to deal with potentially harmful situations onboard an aircraft. As such, it consists of an array of gadgets and objects that passengers and crew can utilize, those of which will be covered in this blog.
Escape Rope for the Cockpit
In an Airbus A320, escape ropes can be found in a compartment just above the sliding windows on either side of the instrument panel. When the cockpit is not under pressure, each sliding window can be released. This rope allows the cockpit crew to exit the plane through the sliding windows, serving as a method of evacuation for occupants in the cockpit.
Serving as an integral part of the cabin evacuation equipment, dual-lane or single-lane escape slides are furnished at all airplane exits within a special storage container. In an emergency, escape slides assist passengers and crew exit the aircraft with ease.
First Aid Equipment
First aid equipment is found in storage containers near the exits for ease of accessibility. For instance, first aid kits (FAKs) are housed in waterproof containers in various locations throughout the cabin. They contain medication, a medical kit, a tiny semi-automatic defibrillator, and other necessities to treat injuries or uneasy passengers on board. Lastly, a universal precaution kit (UPK) containing equipment for removing unwanted items from the cabin is also provided.
Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)
An ELT is either permanently connected, automatically activated, or securely fastened on aircraft, allowing COSPAS and SARSAT satellites to receive a digital warning signal from it.
Underwater Locator Beacon (ULB)
When underwater locator beacons are submerged in an ocean or river, they transmit an 8.8 kHz low-frequency signal continuously for 90 days.
Placed on the front and rear passenger or service doors, sliding rafts provide flotation support to passengers and crew members during over-water emergency evacuation operations. When the aircraft doors are utilized in emergency mode, the sliding raft automatically inflates.
Each escape slide raft is equipped with survival kits held within containers that are stored in-cabin storage compartments. There are placards plastered to the exterior of the storage chambers indicating where the containers can be found.
Supplemental Life Raft
The supplemental life raft can hold up to 165 people and can be found in storage compartments in the cabin of a narrow-body airliner like the Airbus A320, and the cover comes with inflation and operation instructions.
Life vests are located just beneath the passenger seats, in the cabin attendant’s seats, and behind each cockpit seat, alongside a small number of instructional life vests labeled DEMO in bold letters.
Life lines or life ropes help passengers evacuate the aircraft. Life line attachment points are yellow and situated adjacent to the escape hatch recess, revealing themselves only when the exit hatch is raised.
Portable Fire Extinguishers
Portable fire extinguishers are critical in the case of an onboard fire. There are three types of portable fire extinguishers, each of which contain a unique extinguishing substance like a halogen agent, 2-BTP, and liquid agent.
Protective Breathing Equipment (PBE) for Flight Crew
PBE guards the flight crew from hazardous gasses and smoke.
Portable Oxygen Devices for Cabin Crew
The portable oxygen equipment includes handheld oxygen cylinders, continuous-flow oxygen masks, and protective breathing devices, all of which can be located throughout the cabin.
Other Emergency Equipment
There are a number of other items onboard that are helpful during emergencies, such as a megaphone, spare lift vests, and flashlights.
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