We've had three solid weeks of very serious safety training, capped off with two days of first aid training last week. This week-end we've all been studying for our exam on the Hawker Siddeley 748 on Monday. Today we had a study group and practiced evacuations in preparation for emergency procedures training and evacuation drills this week.
Evacuations involve memorizing commands verbatim, developing the right authoritative and loud voice and endless practice. We need to know exactly what to do and exactly what to say in every conceivable evacuation scenario. I believe the goal is to get to the point where we won't have to think about what to say and do in an emergency, we will just do it.
By the way, if you are ever unfortunate enough to be in a plane crash, the best advice I can give you is listen to your flight attendant. We know this stuff inside out. By the time we graduate we will have passed a drill where we evacuate two types of aircraft in front of our instructors, which for me is the most terrifying scenario I can think of.
I've tried yelling emergency commands in my car, shouting: EMERGENCY, BEND OVER, STAY DOWN so many times that my three-year-old son has the command memorized.
Today in our study group, we had a chance to practice yelling commands at each other. We set up an unplanned land evacuation on a make-shift Hawker 748 today. The Hawker was actually Susan's kitchen, the seats were lawn chairs and the jump seat was a bar stool. We practiced two scenarios, one where both the aft exits were clear and one where the aft exits were blocked and the ABPs were unable to open the window exit. (ABP stands for able-bodied person.)
I've learned a lot about my co-workers today. I now know that if you hear Angelica, Susan, Jessica, Erin or Eric shout "BEND OVER," you bend over. We are a forceful group, let me tell you.
After several run-throughs, some of our more gregarious personalities made things a little more challenging with some erratic passenger behaviour. While we are very serious about safety and emergency procedures, it is nice to have a little fun every now and then. Plus, the challenge of successfully remembering evacuation commands while a "passenger" is repeatedly making loud tropical bird noises, is very good practice.
By the end of the study session my voice was starting to get hoarse from shouting so for now, it's back to studying the Hawker.