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20 years

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Why are safety drills important? Ask Asiana Airlines flight attendants

One of the top media attention grabbers is an airplane crash at a major airport with dramatic video of the explosion and fire.

When Asiana Airlines flight 214 smacked the runway at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), it was all over global news in a twitter nano-second. I learned of it within minutes in Rome while waiting to board a flight back to the US.

Early reports are focusing on whether pilot error contributed the accident.  News reports note the pilot’s reported relatively few number of hours in the particular plane. The irony of the human error that may have caused the crash was the training, practice and quick thinking of the flight attendants in evacuating the entire aircraft in of 291 passengers and 16 crew in approximately 90 seconds despite an initial slide deployment glitch. The statement that the flight attendants “are on board primarily for your safety” was never more true. 

The crew exhibited remarkable professionalism in remaining calm and directing the passengers to safety.

CommCore commends Asiana’s team on their performance under the ultimate stress test.  The accident should encourage all organizations to take a look at their safety and emergency procedures. Also think about a drill or simulation to test your responses and internal and external communications.  Crisis plans are one thing; they work much better if they are tested and improved.  


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