CALIFORNIA – Brig. Gen. Joe Vazquez, Civil Air Patrol national vice commander, plays a prominent role in “Critical Information: The Passenger Safety Briefing,” a new video from the AOPA Foundation’s Air Safety Institute.
The video covers often-overlooked items that should be part of every passenger safety briefing. The institute created the video in response to a National Transportation Safety Board recommendation for better preflight safety briefings of passengers in the event of pilot incapacitation after an accident.
Vazquez appears in four segments, discussing the importance of preparing for a possible accident by dressing appropriately for the weather and terrain and having potentially critical equipment on hand, remaining at or near an accident site for location by searchers, and filing and following a flight plan.
“No one plans to have an accident, but that doesn’t keep them from happening—and when they do, a little information can sometimes make a big difference,” said Bruce Landsberg, president of the AOPA Foundation. “The video discusses why search and rescue is often harder than it sounds, and offers simple ways to maximize the chances for rescue in the event of an accident.”
In the 2010 accident that killed Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, there was an 18-hour delay in locating the aircraft, in part because the surviving passengers were unaware a working satellite phone was aboard the aircraft.
The video helps encourage pilots to spend more time, and be more thorough, in providing basic post-accident survival information to passengers before takeoff, such as:
- How to use the aircraft’s radio after an accident.
- Whether there’s a handheld radio aboard and how to use it.
- How to activate emergency locator transmitters.
- What, if any, survival and first aid gear is aboard and where it’s located.
The video also includes an example of a real-life briefing.
In addition to Vazquez, the video includes an interview with NTSB survival factors investigator Jason Fedok. It discusses the importance of educating passengers about restraint systems and door mechanisms, basic survival tips and the most crucial thing a pilot can do to maximize the chances of being found after an accident.