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Local experts talk about surviving a plane crash

3 years 4 months 4 weeks ago July 08, 2013 Jul 8, 2013 Monday, July 08 2013 July 08, 2013 10:39 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Ryan Naquin

BATON ROUGE - Aviation firefighters from across the state are taught lifesaving techniques a few miles from LSU.

"We have a 40-hour program that we put people through... we put them through classroom and practical experience to learn the different skills," said Nick Palmer the airport and rescue firefighting program manager at LSU Fire and Emergency Training Institute.

He described the scene firefighters in San Francisco faced when a plane crashed this weekend.

"There is fuel that burns upward of 2000 degrees, which is hot enough to bend steal," he said.

One of the two people who died in the crash may have survived the plane crash but was killed after being hit by a rescue truck that was driving through the smoke.

"We are taught to not drive through smoke unless someone is walking in front," he said.

Palmer's expertise doesn't stop with rescuers. He also knows the steps passengers can take if they find themselves fighting for survival.

"Learn the aircraft, look at where the nearest exit is, map that in your head," Palmer said. "Think if I can't see, if there is smoke, there's excitement and chaos, how would I get there? Count the seats in front of you to find that."

Palmer admits staying calm during such an event is difficult. But he also believes that simple advice could mean life or death.

Studies of plane crashes show people often rush to the exit they are not suppose to use, he said.

"After an emergency, they have seen where 99 percent of the occupants tried to escape from the entrance door, which is usually the front door on the left side of the aircraft."

He also advises the front of the plane is the last place you want to be during a crash.

"The front of the aircraft is the lowest survival rate, usually where the most impact is done is at the front of the aircraft. So if you have a choice at where you want to sit, I would sit at the rear of the aircraft," he said.

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