I’ve been on a lot of planes lately, really for the last six months. Seeing the safety videos or hearing the safety announcements got me thinking…
Airlines are required to give the detailed instructions. They also have the information in the pamphlet in your seat back pocket. It happens on every flight, no matter what. I presume the intent is to ensure as few people get hurt or die in an emergency as possible. At least recently we have seen some creativity in the messaging, with Southwest flight attendants making jokes and others doing funny videos. I wonder how the safety information for a couple hundred people in an enclosed space compares to other examples.
If we check into a hotel, we don’t get a safety briefing. We get a laminated sheet of paper on the back of the door that tells us where to go if we evacuate, and some exit signs in the hallway. There are no oxygen masks or life vests needed, certainly. But a hotel may have hundreds or thousands of people in residence at any given time, and no briefing.
Cruise ships seem to be in a really tough spot – the most people yet, and an enclosed space, and on water. The only benefit is we don’t have to worry about air pressure at altitude. Given the risks, cruise ships take the most extreme measures. They make us practice an evacuation before the ship ever leaves port. Grab your life vest, meet in the lounge, listen to the captain’s orders, then –and only then – can you grab your first tropical drink in a souvenir glass. And during the cruise, the crew is regularly practicing safety drills.
OK that’s a good recap but so what. Well, I wonder if anyone has really challenged whether these industries have done a true risk/reward analysis on their safety information, and whether they should be more aligned. Maybe one of them is doing too much, for example, or some aren’t doing enough.
In the entertainment business we grapple with the same issues. We try to ensure our guests’ safety in a number of ways, and you have seen these measures increase over time. Security guards, then police presence, bag checks, then metal detectors, then limits on bag sizes, clear bags only, etc.
I only see this expanding from enclosed spaces like arenas and theaters to other spaces like nightclubs and even more open spaces like hotels and dense retail spaces. I would also expect much more collaboration and sharing of best practices among industries.
I do not expect, however, that arenas will add life vests under your seat or make you do an evacuation drill, but maybe a themed nightclub will drop oxygen masks from the ceiling someday. 🙂