Being in an emergency situation inside the cabin of an aircraft at 8,000 feet is probably something that you don't even want to imagine.
But if such situation occurs anyway, you would probably feel better knowing what was going on and what the airline crew will do to help the situation.
Sudirman Riyanto, Garuda Indonesia's VP Corporate Quality, Safety and Environment Management, talked to The Jakarta Post Travel about what to expect from airline safety.
1. Hand-held fire extinguishers are available in the aircraft, which is probably the most serious in-flight emergency.
In an Airbus cabin, all lavatories and crew rest areas have smoke detectors and automatic fire extinguishers. The cabin crew is trained to react immediately to smoke detector alerts.
2. Drop-out or portable oxygen systems are ready to be used if the plane experiences a sudden decompression due to a loss of cabin pressure.
Most commercial aircraft are pressurized. If cabin pressure is lost when altitude is above 14,000 feet, compartments containing oxygen masks open and masks drop down in front of passengers.
In this rare event, pilots are trained to guide the aircraft to a safe and breathable altitude as quickly as possible.
3. Available on most aircraft, a slide can inflate to evacuate passengers if the plane have to make an emergency landing on land.
The same device can act as a life raft if the landing is on water. All rafts are equipped with a survival kit (such as locator light, distress flares, flotation devices, an emergency radio, an ELT [Emergency Locator Transmitter] and an erectable canopy to protect passengers from heat and rain.
The canopy can also be used to catch rain water to drink later. Small airplanes such as B737 series and CRJ1000 are equipped with 2 or 3 life rafts - each can hold 60 to 80 passengers and they are strong enough to withstand waves and storms.
4. Cockpit and cabin crew are always 'fit to fly'.
They have received training to handle all emergencies. Every year, they have to pass medical examination and competence tests before being permitted to go to work.
Competences include procedures for emergency landing, handling in-flight fires and performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) as a first aid technique if there are no doctors or paramedics among the passengers.
Joint trainings with pilots are also held.
5. Aircraft always fly in routes called airways which are corridors connecting one CTA (Control Area or airspace) with another.
This increases the effectiveness of navigation devices and air traffic can be managed more easily, preventing accidents. Flying in airways mean your flight will be constantly monitored.
6. All pilots – captains and co-pilots - are required to comply with a course called 'Pilot Incapacitation' during their initial and recurrent training.
This particular course allows them to handle or control the plane until it can land safely if the other pilot is unable to continue his/her duty because of a heart attack, loss of consciousness or other reasons.
7. Garuda Indonesia's aircraft are equipped with advanced technologies.
These include high tech navigation tools (IRS, GPS, FMS), new digital communication tools called CPDLC (Controller–pilot data link communication), a new radar that can detect windshear, Terrain Awareness to measure the height of elevated landscape and give warnings, TCAS (Traffic collision avoidance system) to detect other planes around and ADS-B (Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) that enable pilots and air traffic controllers to see the same radar picture which makes flying significantly safer.