There is a cool, almost inhuman calculation to emergency manuals. As the flight crew walks you through the various safety features of an aircraft before a flight, they remind you to tell them if you physically can’t open the overwing door. There is no room in an emergency for your best effort. You either can or you can’t.
Similarly, they make it very clear that in the case of cabin depressurization, you are to put on your mask FIRST, before assisting others. Effectively, they are reminding us that we are of absolutely no use to anyone who may depend on us when we are dead. In the most calculating way possible, the airlines know something innate about human nature. If you don’t take care of yourself first, bravery, compassion even love mean nothing.
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