I woke up early this morning and was drawn back to the TV coverage of the Miracle on the Hudson - the US Airways water landing without pontoons! Many words have and will be spoken on this amazing incident. As a Flight Attendant my mind immediately goes to Emergency Procedures in my Flight Manual, training received in class and, most important, the Recurrent Training we all attend once a year.
During Recurrent Training we are shown films of aircraft accidents and Crew responses. We listen to those who have been there describe their experiences. We have a mock aircraft trainer to practice evacuation commands, opening exits and strategies for different types of landings and situations. We operate emergency equipment, hands on. Where is the equipment located? Is the emergency planned or unplanned? We have a 30-second review that we go over in our heads each flight - "Brace position and brace command until aircraft stops; evacuation decision; assigned exit procedures; evacuation commands." Crew coordination is important. Each Flight Attendant has specific duties depending on their position on the aircraft while we all know we do what needs to be done at the time. There is no way to know how each scenario might take place. We are trained to use common sense.
During each emergency briefing I am looking to see where non-ambulatory passengers are sitting. Where are the children traveling alone and other children sitting? Who might need special help? Once again it has been proved that training pays off.
The rush of emotions has hit not only those involved but the rest of us as spectators. "What would it have been like if we had been on that plane? What would we have done?" These US Airways Crew Members performed admirably, and we feel such pride in the outcome. Let's salute them, the other rescue workers, and all, who day in and day out, work to keep flying safe.