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FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 3/4 [Monthly posting]
Section - [3-2] Travel Safety

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Travel by commercial airplane is among the safest ways to travel. But
there are still some risks. To improve your chances of surviving in
the event of a crash:

  -  Sit near the wings, as the airplane is reinforced there to
     support the wings.

  -  Wear natural-fiber clothes. Synthetics can melt or ignite,
     producing smoke and toxic fumes and causing burns.

  -  Wear comfortable shoes or sneakers, without high heels. High
     heels can snag on the escape slide.

  -  Bring your own infant safety seat. Use one which has been
     approved for use in motor vehicles AND aircraft. Don't use one
     which was made before February 26, 1985.

  -  In the event of a crash, do not carry any bags or other items
     with you. They can cause you to tumble on the slide, leading to
     broken bones or more serious injuries.

There are two things you should do every time you board a plane, since
they vary from aircraft to aircraft:

  -  Count the number of seats from you to the nearest exits, both in
     front of you and behind you. This will let you find the exits
     even if you've been blinded or the smoke is so thick you can't
     see the way out.

  -  Locate your personal flotation device. It may be your seat
     cushion, or it may be an inflatable life vest in a plastic bag stored
     beneath your seat. Sometimes a life vest is stored in or under your
     armrest, especially in business or first class. If you personal
     flotation device is missing or damaged, bring this to the
     attention of the flight attendant before takeoff.

If you do this, you'll save yourself precious seconds in the event of
a real emergency. Those seconds can mean the difference between life
and death.

Fatal accidents involving plane crashes are extremely rare. The
chances of your being on such a crash is less than one in a million,
according to figures from the National Transportation Safety Board

During the past ten years there have been usually only one or two fatal
crashes a year, involving no more than 300 deaths. In contrast, in a
typical year there are more than 40,000 fatal automobile accidents in
the US. Of course, these numbers aren't really comparable. A more
accurate comparison would involve the fatal accident rates 
per passenger mile and per passenger trip. But even so, air
transportation is definitely safer than ground transportation.

Other safety issues:

   +  Notify the flight attendant of any relevant medical conditions,
      disabilities, and/or medications. Medication should be
      transported in the original bottle. Carry a card listing any
      serious health conditions, the required medication and dosages, and
      your doctor's home and work telephone numbers. Include a list of
      allergies and your blood type. 

   +  If traveling by car in a foreign country and you are involved in
      a minor accident, do not leave your car. Instead, go to a
      well-lit area, such as a shopping mall (or better yet, a police
      station) and call the police. A common scam is for
      criminals to follow foreigners from the airport, bump their
      cars in a remote location, and then rob them. 

   +  If you need directions, ask at the airport information desk, a
      hotel, gas station, bank, or restaurant. Don't ask a stranger on
      the street. Even if you're lost act as if you know where you're
      going and continue walking. 

   +  Walk only in well-lit areas and avoid slums. 

   +  Don't make it obvious that you're a foreigner. When in Rome, do
      as Romans do. Keep a low profile and try to blend in as much as
      possible. Dress as they dress and carry your camera
      inconspicuously. Avoid clothing and jewelry that identifies you 
      as a traveler. Don't engage in loud and boisterous behavior
      that draws attention. Women should be especially careful to
      dress apropriately, as clothing restrictions are more stringent
      for women in many foreign countries. Don't wear provocative clothing.

   +  Carry important documents and valuables in a money belt or neck
      pouch. Store unneeded valuables in the hotel safe and not in
      your room. 

   +  In Europe, the groups of small children who crowd around you
      outside airports, hotels, and similar establishments are often 
      pickpockets. Avoid crowds and unexpected situations.

   +  Do not leave valuables unattended on the plane.

   +  If you are having trouble managing your bags, get a baggage
      cart. A common ploy is for a scam artist to bump into you,
      sending your bags flying. While this individual is helping you
      gather your bags (and distracting your attention), a confederate
      is walking away with one of your bags. Stay alert. It is best to
      travel light, with a single piece of luggage.

   +  Keep a list of your credit card numbers at home in a safe place,
      in case your cards are lost or stolen during your trip. You may
      want to bring a list of the bank phone numbers with you.

   +  Let your family and friends know your itinerary, in case of
      emergency. They should also know how to get a copy of your
      medical and dental records, and your will, if necessary.

   +  If carrying a purse, carry it in front of your, close to your
      body, and run the strap over your head (across your neck). The
      flap of the purse should be toward your body. Don't
      let the bag dangle off of your shoulder or elbow, as it is
      easier to snatch.  

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Top Document: FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 3/4 [Monthly posting]
Previous Document: [3-1] Travel Advisories/Health Information
Next Document: [3-3] Air Quality

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM