Most Southwest 1380 passengers didn't wear oxygen masks safely

In this April 17, 2018 photo provided by Marty Martinez, Martinez, left, appears with other passengers after a jet engine blew out on the Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 plane he was flying in from New York to Dallas, resulting in the death of a woman who was nearly sucked from a window during the flight with 149 people aboard. A preliminary examination of the blown jet engine that set off a terrifying chain of events showed evidence of "metal fatigue," according to the National Transportation Safety Board. (Marty Martinez via AP)

Passenger video and photos from Southwest flight 1380 showed that many people were not wearing their oxygen masks correctly after an emergency on the flight Tuesday.

Two former flight attendants warn not covering your mouth and nose can make a mid-air disaster worse.

If you’ve ever taken a flight, you’ve heard it before.

“The oxygen mask will fall from the ceiling up above, and what you’re supposed to do is pull the mask down to your face, just to activate the oxygen by extending the cord,” said Bobby Laurie, as he demonstrated how to put on the mask.

Many passengers tune out to the flight attendants during the safety demonstration.

“Out of 100 passengers, maybe it seemed like 10 percent were actually watching,” Gailen David said.

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Said Laurie, “Here you are trying to give them information to possibly save their life and they are preoccupied with something else."

Laurie and David have 35 years of flight attendant experience between them and hung up their wings a few years ago. They now co-host the travel talk show The Jet Set.

Laurie took to Twitter after seeing photos from passengers on the Southwest airlines flight this week.

“The first thing I noticed was everyone wearing their oxygen masks incorrectly,” he said.

He posted what he calls his own public service announcement that received more than 9,600 retweets and around 16,600 likes telling people to cover their nose and mouth with the mask.

“Make sure that the mask will cover your nose and mouth, then you put the band around your head and tighten, so that it make a suction to your face,” he explained.

Laurie said if you only cover your mouth, it’s like scuba diving in the sky.

“You have to consciously remember to breathe through the mask because you’re not going to get oxygen through your nose during a decompression,” he said.

Passengers have 10 to 20 seconds to get the mask on properly or they can pass out.

“You would also become hypoxic, which is the lack of oxygen to the brain,” Laurie said.

Said David, “When something happens, in many cases passengers can go into a shock. And if you haven’t listened to [the instructions] and committed it to short term memory, there’s a chance that you might just freeze."

When the cabin loses pressure, the pilot will drop the plane to an altitude where you can breathe on your own. The Southwest Airlines pilot this week took her plane from more than 30,000 feet to about 10,000 feet in a little more than five minutes.

There’s a lot going on in an emergency. David said it will help to have that safety information fresh in your memory.

“Just pay attention to it, it’s definitely worth that 60 seconds,” he said.

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