Amidst all the justifiable praise for the pilot of US Airways flight 1549, Emptywheel at Firedoglake points to a largely overlooked factor in the passenger and crews’ survival:
[Sullenberger]–and his union–have fought to ensure pilots get the kind of safety training to pull off what he did yesterday.
Then there are the flight attendants…members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. Yesterday’s accident should remind all of us that flight attendants are first and foremost safety professionals–they should not be treated like cocktail waitresses.
There are the ferry crews…They’re represented by the Seafarers International Union. They provide safety training to their members so they’re prepared for events like yesterday’s accident.
There are the cops and firemen…They’re represented by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the Uniformed Firefighters Association and Uniformed Fire Officers Association (IAFF locals). They’re the men and women who performed so heroically on 9/11–and they’ve been fighting to make sure first responders get the equipment to do this kind of thing.
This is a legitimate point, but it unfairly disparages business, which has a long record of voluntarily spending manhours and money on safety training, even without union coercion. I remember my great-grandmother telling tales of when she worked for the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, and scoffing at the “nanny-like” managers who continually pulled seamstresses away from their machines for safety meetings, tips and drills teaching them what to do if the place caught on fire and they were all locked inside, such as tucking your skirts between your legs before you jump from the 9th floor so onlookers don’t get a glimpse of your bloomers before you hit the pavement. But as Amanda Carpenter at Townhall remarks, what’s the good of safety training after you’ve already had an accident, since by the very nature of the situation, you are no longer safe!
That time would have been much better spent in 401k meetings teaching them how to properly invest their retirement funds, or life insurance payouts, in the stock market.