Aviation safety issues and actions

Requirements for verbally briefing passengers on emergency exits

Issue number: AO-2018-026-SI-02
Issue owner: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Transport function: Aviation: Air transport
Background: Investigation Report AO-2018-026
Issue release date: 16 June 2021
Current issue status: Closed – Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB notes that the requirement for briefings is limited to those seated in emergency exit rows, even for small aircraft, but overall is satisfied that the safety action taken by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has reduced the risk of this safety issue.

Safety issue description

There was no requirement for operators of passenger transport flights in aircraft with six or less seats to provide passengers with a verbal briefing, or written briefing material, on the method for operating the emergency exits.

Proactive action

Action number: AO-2018-026-NSA-056
Action organisation: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Date: 16 June 2021
Action status: Closed

On 10 October 2018, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) issued Cabin safety bulletin 12 - General aviation passenger briefings.[59] The purpose of the bulletin was to ‘…provide guidance on how to conduct a briefing to increase passenger situational awareness and enhance any response to an emergency or abnormal event within the passenger-carrying environment’.

The background section stated:

Survivors of aircraft accidents have provided anecdotal evidence as to the importance of their recollection of information concerning the correct operation of aircraft equipment such as exits, the location of emergency equipment and how to adopt the brace position for impact. Adequately briefed passengers, who understand how to help themselves, will assist in the quick and successful evacuation of an aircraft.

The bulletin provided guidance for briefings of small aeroplanes, helicopters and hot air balloons. For helicopters, the bulletin included the following information

Pre-flight briefing

- Seat belt fastening, tightening, releasing procedures.

- Importance of using a shoulder harness where fitted.

- Location and operation of doors and emergency exits.

- Location and operation of emergency equipment such as the emergency locator transmitter, survival kit, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher and any other safety equipment.

- Location and use of life jackets, including fitment and when to inflate.

- No smoking.

- Remain in the seat unless given permission to move

- Do not distract the pilot during take-off, manoeuvring or landing.

In addition to the bulletin, in December 2018, CASA revised its passenger safety briefing guidance and produced the Civil Aviation Advisory Publication (CAAP) 253-02 v2.0 (Passenger safety information: Guidelines on content and standard of safety information to be provided to passengers by aircraft operators). The update to the original CAAP included information specific for helicopter operations and included the information that had been produced in the cabin safety bulletin. 

 

 

Proactive action

Action number: AO-2018-026-NSA-057
Action organisation: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Date: 16 June 2021
Action status: Closed

In December 2018, CASA issued Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) Part 133, applicable to air transport operations in helicopters. CASR 133.240 stated that the operator and the pilot in command were required to provide passengers with a safety briefing, instructions or demonstrations in accordance with the requirements prescribed by the Part 133 Manual of Standards (MOS). This same requirement was mimicked for both small aeroplanes (in Part 135) and large air transport (in Part 121).

In December 2020, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority Part 133 MOS came into effect. The MOS required that the following information be provided to passengers before take-off (among other things):

(6)  Subject to subsection (7), a specific safety briefing must be provided directly to any passenger on the flight who is seated in an emergency exit row, which outlines what to do if it becomes necessary to use the exit.

(7)  Subsection (6) does not apply if:

(a)  a crew member who has been assigned to the flight is seated in a crew station adjacent to the exit; and

(b)  the crew member has been assigned emergency evacuation responsibilities for the exit in accordance with the operator’s exposition

(9)  A safety briefing that addresses the following matters must be given…

(f)  where the emergency exits are located…

The MOS also stated that the safety briefing could be given orally, by audio presentation, by video presentation or by a combination of these methods.

CASR part 133.235 also required that, if a helicopter had a maximum operational passenger seat configuration of more than two, a safety briefing card must be available for each passenger. The MOS also required that the safety briefing card contain the following:

(f) where the emergency exits are located and how to use them…

Similar requirements were outlined in the Part 135 MOS for air transport operations in small aeroplanes.

In May 2021, CASA released a multi-part Advisory Circular (AC), AC 121-10, AC 133-07 and AC135-11 v1.0 (Passengers seated in emergency exit row seats) applicable to both aeroplanes and helicopters that provided additional guidance about the briefing requirements for those passengers allocated to an emergency exit row seat. 

Last update 16 June 2021