After the disaster of September 11 and the security scare this past Christmas, more people are worried about aviation accidents caused not by pilot error or plane malfunction, but rather threats caused by security problems. There are many things you can do to help minimize your risk of being affected by an aviation accident caused by a security threat:
1) Report odd activity. If you see anything at an airport or on an airplane which might be in violation of security procedures or which may be a threat, bring it to the attention of someone in charge at once. At the same time, be careful not to stereotype. Anyone of any nationality, gender, or age can pose a threat.
2) Stay alert. Take notice of the people and items around you. Keeping your eyes open ensures you may see anything out of place. Staying alert also ensures that you will be able to react quickly to help prevent disaster and possible personal injury.
3) Protect yourself first. If you see a suspicious unattended package, unusual behavior, or an unusual commotion, move away first and try to get others to safety. Then, contact authorities for help. Getting in the way can hamper authorities’ efforts and can get you injured as well.
4) Stay in your seat while on the plane. While you are on the aircraft, remain in your seat with your seatbelt fastened for most of the flight. Only stand up occasionally when you need to use the washroom or stretch your legs. You are safest with your seatbelt fastened in case the airplane makes unexpected maneuvers to deal with a threat.
5) Know the airplane. On your airplane, listen to the safety procedures outlined by flight attendants. This will keep safety procedures fresh in your mind in case you need to use them at some point. It will also ensure that you know where the emergency exits are in the event that you need to use them. If there is an emergency on board, listen to the flight attendants, who will provide you with directions on how to stay safe.
6) Do not use wireless devices unless it is an emergency. You are not allowed to use wireless devices right before takeoff until the end of the flight. If an emergency occurs on board, however, evaluate the situation and decide whether you need to call for help.