Brace for Impact
To assume a brace position or crash position is an instruction that can be given to prepare for a crash, such as on an aircraft; the instruction to “Brace for impact!” or “Brace! Brace!” is often given if the aircraft must make an emergency landing on land or water.
These are three words that you never want to hear when flying in an aircraft but will assist you in preparing yourself for a crash sequence if one were to occur. This communique was developed due to the inconsistent information within various manuals and training materials.
The Federal Aviation Administration has been using test dummies to study brace positions since 1967. While the recommended postures have changed a bit over the years, the underlying principle remains unchanged: It’s best to lean forward in advance of a plane crash so your head is close to the seat in front of you. To press yourself toward the back of that seat, the theory goes, reduces the risk of deadly “secondary impact,” wherein your head whips forward and slams into a hard surface.
Body position at the time of impact is an important factor in making an accident survivable. The two primary reasons for bracing are to reduce secondary impact and flailing injuries. Secondary impact injuries can be reduced by prepositioning the body (particularly the head) against the surface it would normally strike during impact. When using a shoulder harness, secondary impact with the structure will likely involve the head, thus the importance of head positioning.
Flailing can be reduced by proper body positioning and griping the seat edge with your hands or placing them under your legs. DO NOT grasp the restraint harness. If your seat is equipped with noninertial reel-type shoulder harnesses, make sure you tighten the shoulder harnesses as much as possible
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