Travel health: a survey of life jacket designs currently in use on commercial aircraft

Bauer, Irmgard L. (2002) Travel health: a survey of life jacket designs currently in use on commercial aircraft. Journal of Travel Medicine, 9 (3). pp. 132-136.

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Background: Although any travel harbors potential health problems, travel across water poses the additional risk of involuntary contact with water in the event of an emergency. Studies suggest that fatal boat-related accidents have occurred due to the passengers' inability to don their life jackets. With the dramatic increase of long-haul flights, it was decided to investigate if potential safety hazards can be identified leading to similar problems in relation to the life jackets provided onboard aircraft. It was assumed that the variety of designs combined with a possible lack of attention paid to safety instructions could represent such a problem.

Method: Safety instruction cards in passengers' seat pockets usually depict the life jacket model used on a particular aircraft. Ninety-eight such safety cards from 53 airlines were analyzed and categorized to identify the range and variety of designs currently in use.

Results: Twelve different categories of life jacket models could be distinguished with some airlines using more than one model. It was also found that not all cards show a clear depiction of the models used, the cards of two airlines show two different designs on the same cards, and two other companies chose to change the model halfway through the pictured donning procedure.

Conclusion: There is a wide variety of life jacket designs in use with the safety cards not always giving accurate instructions. This variety also has implications for the safety demonstration at the beginning of a flight. Further research is recommended into a range of topics, one being the quality and content of these instructions, and also into other personal floating devices provided for the safety of travelers in the event of an emergency over water.

Item ID: 13601
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1708-8305
Keywords: aircraft life jackets; life jacket design; safety instructions; travel health
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2010 05:46
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150699 Tourism not elsewhere classified @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 5
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