Avoiding Heat Exhaustion - The Importance of Keeping the Aircraft Cabin Cool
May 11, 2018
MEC Safety, Health and Security Committee
As the summer months approach, outside temperatures are rising making it imperative that we do our part to ensure aircraft cabins remain cool and comfortable. In an effort to reduce the possibility of excessive heat in the cabin, Flight Attendants are encouraged to make an announcement requesting passengers lower their window shades and turn on their passenger service unit air vent prior to deplaning the aircraft.
If you board an aircraft and find that its warm, Flight Attendants should immediately request the following:
- Ask the Pilots to cool down the cabin
- If the Pilots are not available, Flight Attendants should make a request for the gate agent or ground staff to start the auxiliary power unit (APU).
If the aircraft temperature is excessively warm have a conversation with the CS supervisor or Captain to determine if the aircraft is safe to board based on the elevated temperature in the cabin.
Additionally, when temperatures are extreme outside it is important to monitor the passengers and our flying partners for heat exhaustion. We encourage Flight Attendants to become familiar with the following symptoms of heat exhaustion.
What is Heat Exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion is caused by loss of body fluids and, in rare cases, important electrolytes. It occurs when the body is unable to maintain a normal body temperature and overheats. When the body overheats, it directs most of its attention to cooling off. To maintain a normal temperature as body heat rises, vessels in the skin fill with blood, allowing heat to radiate out. With so much blood moving to the skin, less can go to the brain, muscles and other organs. Consequently, people who work in hot environments may feel tired earlier than typical and they may feel less mentally alert.
Our AFA Safety Health and Security Committee has provided the following chart to assist Flight Attendants in recognizing the symptoms of a heat disorder.
For additional information see your Local Council Representatives.