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Flight Attendants Define Role As First Responders

Date: March 13, 2007

Washington, DC - Every day in the United States, the equivalent of the entire population of the city of Chicago steps onto an airplane. Whatever happens on the ground that requires the protective response of law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical technicians also happens in the air. At 39,000 feet, flight attendants are the first, and in many cases, the only responders for health, safety and security threats that occur in the air just as they do on the ground.

"Flight attendants are America's first line of security and first line of defense in flight," said Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President. "We are charged with protecting the safety and security of each and every airline passenger.

"Flight attendants' first responsibility is maintaining safety inside the aircraft cabin. We must remain vigilant before, during, and after each departure, whether or not there is a threat of an emergency.

"The flying public relies on the ability of flight attendants to identify potential threats to safeguard the aircraft cabin. Our ability to make split second judgments on whether safety is compromised must not be jeopardized." 

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) represents over 55,000 first responders from 20 airlines.

For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill. More than 55,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, the world's largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afanet.org.

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