My oxygen supply

By | Category: Travel rumblings
phones can work but how do you know the oxygen masks do?

phones can work but how do you know the oxygen masks do?

I had one of those conversations on a returning flight this morning. One that makes you wonder  why you didn’t think of it yourself.

The flight crew safety briefing says that oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling in front of you. Don’t worry if they don’t inflate, oxygen will be flowing. You blithely believe them because they are the flight experts. But how do they know?

The conversation was how you knew whether oxygen was flowing. Strap the mask on, breathe and you’ll breathe for a little while until the supply is exhausted. Would that be too late to summon help, my inquisitor asked.

How does the cabin crew know that the system is working?

The simple answer would be for there to be some sort of indicator on the mask to show it was functioning properly. Surely this can’t be too hard to organise. A life jacket automatically triggers a signal when it hits water so a breathing apparatus should have something to let you know it is functioning.

Forget for a moment concern about your mask. The safety briefing also says to fit you own mask before putting a mask on babies and infants. They cannot tell you that the mask is working or not which perhaps provided an even stronger reason for some function to let everyone know that the oxygen supply is functioning properly.

If any reader knows how to tell, please let us know and we’ll pass the message along.


UPDATE: Nikki – who works as a member of a cabin crew – tells us 

“Once the masks have been dropped you are asked to pull the mask towards you, the pulling motion will activate the oxygen supply for the entire masks for the row you are sat. Once the oxygen has passed through the tubing there will be a small  green indicator in the middle of the tubing to confirm all is working as it should. This oxygen will last for 15 mins and the reason why it only lasts for this short time is that it will only take the captain less then 10 mins to make an emergency descent to get the aircraft to a safe altitude to where everyone can breathe safely.”

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