Published on October 31, 2008
Cabin Operations Flight Operations Briefing Notes Planned Ground Evacuation Flight Operations Briefing Notes Cabin Operations Planned Ground Evacuation I Introduction A planned ground evacuation can be defined as an evacuation that enables the cabin crew to review procedures, and to inform and prepare passengers for an emergency landing. The cabin crew provide passengers with brace instructions, guidance on exit usage, and information on how and when exits should be operated. Effective communication between the crewmembers and the passengers is necessary for a timely, effective, and orderly response. II Background Information A safety study by the US NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) in 2000, entitled “Emergency Evacuation of Commercial Airplanes”, cites examples of planned evacuations where the cabin crewmembers were able to provide passengers with a detailed briefing. The cabin preparation and briefing resulted in an orderly, timely evacuation with few to no injuries. III Emergency Checklist Emergency checklists are useful tools that enable cabin crew to prepare the cabin for a planned emergency. It contains all the steps required to prepare the cabin for an emergency, and lists the steps to be completed in order of priority. Many Operators have developed checklists in the form of laminated cards that are distributed to each cabin crew, or are stowed near the cabin crew’s seats. These types of checklists should be readily accessible to the cabin crew. Page 1 of 12
Cabin Operations Flight Operations Briefing Notes Planned Ground Evacuation Emergency checklists are designed to provide support to cabin crewmembers in a planned emergency, and to help them complete all the necessary steps without forgetting anything. Emergency checklists should be short and consistent. IV Emergency Checklist Contents The Brace Position The brace position is essential when preparing passengers in an emergency landing. Reviewing the brace position during the emergency passenger briefing will help to ensure that passengers are in the correct brace position for landing. The brace position has a dual function: First of all, it reduces body flailing, as passengers must lean or bend over their legs. Secondly, it protects passengers from hitting their head on a hard surface. This position must be adapted if the seat is: • Facing a seat back or a bulkhead • Forward facing or aft-facing with a safety belt and a shoulder harness (crewmember seats only). It must also be adapted if passengers are pregnant, traveling with infants or obese. • Forward facing seat • Forward facing seat • Safety belt only • Safety belt only • High density seating • High density seating • Adult holding infant • Against seat and against seat with break over feature • Forward facing seat • Aft facing seat • Safety belt and • Safety belt and shoulder harness shoulder harness Source: Transportation Safety Board of Canada, Aviation Advisory Circular, AC0155 Figure 1 Examples of Passenger Brace Positions and Cabin Crew Brace Positions Page 2 of 12
Cabin Operations Flight Operations Briefing Notes Planned Ground Evacuation It must be emphasized to passengers that they should expect more than one impact. Passengers must remain in the brace position until the aircraft comes until a complete stop. Once the brace position has been explained, the next step is to inform the passengers when to assume the brace position, for example: “When you hear the cabin crew shouting “Brace, Brace, Brace”, this will be your signal to take the brace position, you must remain in this position until the aircraft has come to a complete stop”. Emergency Exit Location The cabin crew must indicate the location of the nearest emergency exits and the floor proximity exit path lighting to the passengers. Loose Items All loose items must be removed, and secured, because they can be projected into the cabin during landing, cause injury or may impede access to exits. Items to be stowed and secured include: • Carry-on baggage • Handbags • Laptops • Briefcases. All of these items must be placed in an overhead bin, closet or under a seat. High-heeled shoes and sharp objects must also be removed, because these objects can cause damage to the slide during an evacuation. In addition, these objects must not be stowed in seat pockets, since they may injure passengers when they take the brace position. Seat pockets should only be used to stow small objects, such as pens and eyeglasses. Cabin crews should also remove items such as pens, badges and wing pins from their uniforms. Able-Bodied Passengers (ABPs) The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) defines able-bodied passengers (ABPs) as “passengers selected by crewmembers to assist in managing emergency situations if and as required”. The selection of ABPs is based on their ability to understand instructions, their physical ability, and their ability to stay calm. The ideal candidates are people such as: • Deadheading crewmembers Page 3 of 12
Cabin Operations Flight Operations Briefing Notes Planned Ground Evacuation • Military personnel • Police • Fire personnel • Medical personnel • People who respond well to instructions. The cabin crew must not select family members traveling together to be ABPs, because they will naturally prefer to assist their family members before the other passengers. Instead, the cabin crew should select passengers who are traveling alone to be ABPs. Ideally, the cabin crew should select 3 ABPs at each exit. One of the ABPs should be briefed on the following: • How to replace the cabin crewmembers in case they become incapacitated. However, the cabin crew must emphasize that ABPs will replace cabin crewmembers only if they are not able perform their function due to incapacitation • How to assess conditions outside the aircraft, for example, how to identify that an exit is usable/no longer usable • How to open the exit • How to protect oneself from going overboard, to remain in the assist space and to hold on to the frame assist handle • Commands to be used during evacuation: i.e. “Jump and slide” • How to open the crewmembers’ seatbelt: The crew harness buckle is different from passengers’ seat buckles, and a cabin crewmember who is incapacitated in a crew seat may block a usable exit. The two other ABPs should be briefed on how to assist the cabin crew during the evacuation, such as by: • Holding passengers back during door opening and slide inflation • Remaining at the bottom of the slide during the evacuation to assist other passengers. The cabin crew should brief the ABPs seated at overwing exits on the following: • How to assess the outside conditions • When to open the exit • How to open the exit • Commands to be used: i.e. “Come this way”, “Step out”, “Follow the arrows”, “Run and slide” • How to redirect passengers if an exit is no longer usable or blocked. Page 4 of 12
Cabin Operations Flight Operations Briefing Notes Planned Ground Evacuation ABPs should is also be assigned to assist special needs passengers, such as: • Passengers with reduced mobility • The elderly • Unaccompanied minors • People traveling alone with more than one child. Securing the Cabin When the passenger briefings have been completed, the cabin crew must perform the final cabin secure check, in order to ensure that: • Seat belts are fastened • Seat backs are in the upright position • Tray tables are closed and latched • Armrests are down • Carry-on baggage is stowed and secure • Overhead bins are closed and latched • Exits and aisles are clear of all obstructions • Service items are cleared • Cabin dividers are open. The lavatories should be vacated and locked, and the galley equipment should be secured by: • Closing and locking all containers • Ensuring that carts are correctly stowed and secured • Switching off all galley power, and pulling all galley circuit breakers. When the emergency checklist has been completed, the Purser will notify the flight crew that the cabin is secured. The Purser will also ask for an update of the situation, and the amount of time remaining. At this point in time, the cabin crewmembers should: • Take their seats • Adjust the seat harness • Begin a silent review • Be prepared to brace when the command comes from the flight crew. Page 5 of 12
Cabin Operations Flight Operations Briefing Notes Planned Ground Evacuation V Operational Standards for a Planned Ground Evacuation Planned Ground Evacuation Briefing In any type of unusual, abnormal or emergency situation, crew communication and co-ordination play a vital role. It is important that information is shared amongst the entire crew. Successful evacuations are dependent on effective communication among the flight crew, the cabin crew and the passengers. It is important for Operators to establish procedures in order to ensure that adequate guidance is provided to both flight crews and cabin crews on how to conduct abnormal and emergency briefings. For example, if the flight crew needs to inform the cabin crew of an emergency, there may be a specific signal to alert the cabin, such as: • A series of chimes • A specific phrase: i.e. “Purser to cockpit”. These specific actions alert the other crewmembers that there is an emergency situation. When the cabin crewmembers hear the signal, this indicates that an emergency situation exists, and that they must start to secure equipment. Cabin crewmembers should be ready, at their stations, to be briefed by the Purser via the interphone. The Flight Crew to Purser Briefing The flight crew should brief the Purser in a clear, precise and concise manner. The briefing should provide the Purser with the following information: • Nature of emergency (landing or ditching) • Time available to prepare the cabin (the cabin and flight crew should synchronize watches to assist with time management) • What the brace signal will be • Signal to remain seated (if no evacuation is required) • Special instructions/other information • Who will inform the passengers and when (flight crew or Purser). The Purser to Cabin Crew Briefing The Purser must take note of the time in order to manage the time available for the emergency briefing. A certain amount of time is allocated to each task on the checklist. The Purser will need to closely monitor the time in order to accomplish as many tasks on the checklists, as time permits. Page 6 of 12
Cabin Operations Flight Operations Briefing Notes Planned Ground Evacuation The extent of the cabin preparation will depend on the time available. The steps of the cabin preparation should be completed in the order of their importance. The Purser will relay the information provided by the flight crew to all of the cabin crewmembers. The Purser then will instruct the cabin crewmembers to: • Take their emergency checklists • Take their emergency briefing position • Be prepared for the emergency announcement and demonstration. The Cabin Crew to Passenger Briefing For psychological reasons, it is advised that the flight crew make the initial announcement. However, due to the high workload in the cockpit during an emergency, the Purser may be required to make the announcement. The Purser must inform the passengers about: • The nature of the emergency • The need to prepare the cabin • The need for passengers to follow the cabin crewmembers instructions. Before the emergency demonstration begins, the cabin crew must ensure that: • The cabin dividers are open • The lighting is bright • The entertainment system is switched off. The cabin crew should be ready to demonstrate the emergency briefing in their assigned brief and secure area. In order to conduct an effective briefing, the cabin crew must not distract the passenger’s attention from the briefing. Some helpful tips include: • Do not walk up and down the aisle during the announcement • Do not talk during the announcement • Coordinate the demonstration with the announcement. When reading the announcement, the Purser should speak slowly and distinctly, and remember to pause at key points. This will enable cabin crewmembers to perform the demonstration, and verify passenger compliance. Page 7 of 12
Cabin Operations Flight Operations Briefing Notes Planned Ground Evacuation The Signal to Evacuate The flight crew will initiate the evacuation by using the Passenger Address system (PA) to make an appropriate announcement, such as: “Passengers Evacuate”, and then pressing the EVAC COMMAND pushbutton. Note: Preparing the cabin for an emergency does not always result in an evacuation. If the flight crew decides that no evacuation is required, they may announce: “Passengers and crew remain seated”. Cabin crewmembers must be assertive in order to ensure that passengers remain seated, and that they follow all instructions. The Cabin Evacuation Process The evacuation must begin immediately upon receiving the evacuation signal. Positive, assertive action from the cabin crew will directly impact the rate and flow of passenger movement to the exits and down the slides. The commands used by the cabin crew are an essential part of the evacuation process. Commands should be: • Loud • Clear • Short • Well-paced • Assertive • Positive. The following are of some of the commands that are used to during the evacuation of passengers: • “Seatbelts off!” • “Leave everything!” • “Come this way!” • “Hurry, hurry!” • “Jump and slide!” • “Two by two!” (dual lane slide), “One at a time!” (single lane slide). During the evacuation, the cabin crew must: • Monitor the flow of the evacuation. Be aware of congestion in the cabin, and at the bottom of the slide Page 8 of 12
Cabin Operations Flight Operations Briefing Notes Planned Ground Evacuation • Be alert of evolving situations during the evacuation, for example slide damage, or a fire that would make it impossible to use the exit • Be prepared to re-direct passengers to other exits if, necessary. Post-Evacuation The majority of emergency evacuations happen at, or near, an airport. While the crewmembers are evacuating the aircraft, the Airport Emergency Plan (AEP) is implemented. This plan consists of deploying emergency services such as Airport Rescue Fire Fighting, ambulances, and police to the scene. The crewmembers are responsible for the passengers, until they are relieved by the rescue services. They must carry out the following actions to ensure passenger safety: • Assist passengers away from the slides • Direct the passengers away from fuel, fire and vehicles • Assist in marshalling passengers to a safe area upwind, away from the aircraft • Keep passengers together and complete a headcount • Treat injured passengers, and give first aid, if necessary • Enforce a NO SMOKING policy. Crewmembers should also receive training and survival information according to regions, such as: • Desert areas • Tropical areas • Polar regions • Mountainous areas. VI Factors Affecting Adherence to the Operational Standards Analysis of in-service events reveals that the operational standards can be ineffective or non-applicable due to the following reasons: • Incorrect application of the procedure: − An elderly person is seated at an overwing exit. • Lack of training and familiarity with procedures: − A crewmember lacks sufficient assertiveness when ordering passengers to exit the aircraft − The crewmember does not use the manual inflation handle when the slide does not automatically inflate. Page 9 of 12
Cabin Operations Flight Operations Briefing Notes Planned Ground Evacuation • Lack of procedures: − The Operator provides inadequate procedures and guidelines for planned emergencies − The Operator does not give additional briefing to passengers seated at overwing exit. • Ineffective cabin crew communication with the passengers: − Passengers do not adopt the brace position or the correct brace position when the cabin crew shout the commands. • Ineffective cabin crew communication with the flight crew: − The flight crew does not inform the Purser how much the time is available to prepare the cabin. Therefore, the cabin crew is not aware of the time constraints and unable to prioritize the checklist tasks − The flight crew decides not to perform the evacuation. However, the crewmember does not hear the order “remain seated”, and shouts the evacuation commands − The brace signal given by the flight crew, is too early, is not heard or comes to late. Therefore, crewmembers and passengers are sitting upright upon impact. VII Prevention Strategies It is impossible to prevent an unexpected event such as a ground evacuation. However, if an evacuation is required, it is possible to take preventive steps that will help in achieving an efficient evacuation: • Effective communication and coordination between the flight and cabin crew is crucial when an emergency event occurs • Training should ensure that crewmembers are proficient in the use of emergency evacuation procedures, commands and crowd control. Each crewmember should be trained to know the location, function and operation of each piece of emergency equipment onboard the aircraft • Cabin crewmembers should verify that the passengers seated at exit rows will be able to assist the cabin crew, in the case of an emergency. Individual briefings provided to passengers seated at exit rows have two benefits: − Firstly, it provides passengers with the opportunity to ask the cabin crew questions − Secondly, it enables the cabin crew to ensure that the passengers seated at the exit rows understand the language in which the cabin crewmembers will give their commands, and are capable of opening the exit, in the case of an emergency. • Attract passengers’ attention during the safety demonstration by making eye contact with as many passengers as possible Page 10 of 12
Cabin Operations Flight Operations Briefing Notes Planned Ground Evacuation • Attract passengers’ attention to the safety card, and emphasize that a review of the safety card is important, because it contains additional safety information. VIII Summary of Key Points • Operators should develop an emergency checklist that clearly lists the role, duties and responsibilities of each crewmember in order to prepare for a planned emergency: − Emergency checklists provide the cabin crew with a memory aid − Emergency checklists should provide all the steps required to prepare the cabin in an emergency in order of priority − Emergency checklists keep the cabin crew task minded. • The assertiveness of the cabin crew has a direct impact on the passenger evacuation or non-evacuation (if the order to evacuate is not received from the flight crew, the cabin crewmembers will need to assert their authority, in order to prevent an unnecessary passenger-initiated evacuation) • Operators should define exit row seating requirement policies, and ABP requirements regarding age, physical ability, and the ability to understand the language in which the crew will give their commands • Operators that have a “free seating” policy should ensure that the ground staff and the cabin crew are aware of the exit row seating requirements • Operators should regularly review cabin safety recommendations from the various aviation authorities, and safety agencies • Operators should review incidents that occur during in-house flight operations. These incidents can be analyzed to update existing procedures, or used during cabin crew emergency training, or CRM training. IX Associated Flight Operations Briefing Notes The following Flight Operations Briefing Notes can be consulted for additional information about evacuations, briefings and crew communication: • Unplanned Ground Evacuation • Effective Briefings for Cabin Operations • Crew Communication X Regulatory References • JAR-OPS subpart O – Cabin Crew Standards • FAA AC 121-24C - Passenger Safety Information Briefing and Briefing Cards • Transportation Safety Board of Canada - Aviation Advisory Circular AC0155 Page 11 of 12
Cabin Operations Flight Operations Briefing Notes Planned Ground Evacuation XI Airbus References • A320 Family, A330 & A340 Cabin Crew Operations Manuals • Getting to Grips with Cabin Safety (Brochure) XII Additional Reading Materials/Websites References • Transport Canada - A Safety Study of Evacuations of Large Passenger – Carrying Aircraft - Report Number SA9501 • Transport Canada – TP 12295E – Flight Attendant Manual Standard • Transport Canada – TP 12296E – Flight Attendant Training Manual These publications are available on the Transport Canada website: http://www.tc.gc.ca/. • CAA United Kingdom SRG – FODCOM 22/01 - Briefing of Passengers at Type III Emergency Exits - http://www.caa.co.uk/ • Flight Safety Foundation – Publications - Flight Safety Digest December 2000 - Safety Study Emergency Evacuation of Commercial Airplanes (Case 26 and 43) • Flight Safety Foundation – Publications – Cabin Crew Safety January-February 2003 These publications are available on the Flight Safety Foundation website: http://www.flightsafety.org/home.html. • Global Aviation Information Network (GAIN) - Cabin Safety Compendium - http://www.gainweb.org/ This FOBN is part of a set of Flight Operations Briefing Notes that provide an overview of the applicable standards, flying techniques and best practices, operational and human factors, suggested company prevention strategies and personal lines- of-defense related to major threats and hazards to flight operations safety. This FOBN is intended to enhance the reader's flight safety awareness but it shall not supersede the applicable regulations and the Airbus or airline's operational documentation; should any deviation appear between this FOBN and the Airbus or airline’s AFM / (M)MEL / FCOM / QRH / FCTM / CCOM, the latter shall prevail at all times. In the interest of aviation safety, this FOBN may be reproduced in whole or in part - in all media - or translated; any use of this FOBN shall not modify its contents or alter an excerpt from its original context. Any commercial use is strictly excluded. All uses shall credit Airbus. Airbus shall have no liability or responsibility for the use of this FOBN, the correctness of the duplication, adaptation or translation and for the updating and revision of any duplicated version. Airbus Customer Services Flight Operations Support and Services 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte - 31707 BLAGNAC CEDEX FRANCE FOBN Reference : FLT_OPS – CAB_OPS – SEQ 11 – REV 02 – MAR. 2007 Page 12 of 12
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