We hear about airplane incidents and tragedies in the news all the time, so it is understandable if people become apprehensive about flying. Though air travel is extraordinarily safe, there is always the possibility of a dangerous situation occurring.

As passengers, we are urged (and really required) to pay attention to the safety presentations given when we board. They are meant to prepare us in the event of a real emergency, whether it’s a sketchy landing, equipment failure, or a crash.

Sometimes we ignore it and sometimes we don’t, but it’s also easy to forget what to do when things get real. Especially when it comes to crashes. We know the thought has crossed many minds, so it’s best to know what to do to have a shot at survival. A pilot has been kind enough to provide his insight.

Pilot Dave Inch addressed this concern in a Quora forum with a few key pieces of advice. You may not have considered this, but he points out that you need to remove all sharp or fragile items from your pockets. Think pens or keys. It’s also a good idea to move anything that could be a projectile – glass, computer, or fork.

He also stated to loosen belts, and to take off your ties, scarves, high heels, and glasses in the event of a crisis. Hold on to your glasses so they don’t fly away and you can easily access them in an emergency. All these steps will help to prepare you as the plane starts to descend or hit a surface.

Inch continued by reminding everyone to note where each exit is just in case some become inaccessible (especially if the plane lands in water). On top of that, count the number of rows to the closest exits in the event smoke occludes your view.

Should fire or smoke appear, place a damp cloth over your mouth and nose and stick close to the ground. Don’t try to crack open any doors or windows, and stay in your seat unless other instructions are given.

Inch also provided critical info about water:

“If a water landing DO NOT inflate your life vest until you are actually at the doorway. If you inflate it and the aircraft fills with water, you will get trapped on the ceiling and not be able to swim underwater to get out the exit. If this happens, get out of your life vest to be able to swim out and hang onto someone once out.”

And we can’t leave out this gem that he shared:

“Don’t waste your time taking video with your camera. LISTEN and PAY ATTENTION. If you survive with a video, it’s cool. If you die because you were more interested in taking a video than paying attention, it’s not so cool.”

In the thick of a disaster, it can be hard to focus and remember what to do. Listen closely to flight crew but also use common sense to keep you and your loved ones safe!

Have you ever encountered an emergency on a flight? What steps did you take to stay safe? Are you nervous about flying?