Brace For Impact | Giftie Etcetera: Brace For Impact

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Brace For Impact

I am watching the miracle that is a crashed plane where, at least as of the latest reports, all passengers and crew survived. Wow, I can't even contemplate how quick thinking and calm the pilot and crew had to be. Wow.

One of the passengers is reporting that women and children were sent away first.

I have such mixed feelings about women and children going first. Well, not children. Get those kids off the plane. Save the kids first. That part is easy.

And for the most part, I get that the men - in general - will be stronger than the women and therefore more likely to save themselves in some way if, say, they run out of lifevests and have to swim to shore. Men can swim faster, farther, and against stronger currents than women, in general.

But the in general is my problem. Without discounting the truth that men and women are built differently and physical survival is likely easier for men in cases like plane crashes into a river, sometimes having extra women might be better. I imagine a scenario where me and my brother-in-laws crash in a plane. One brother-in-law used to jump out of planes (in the armed services) for a living. He probably needs to stay behind and help with the rescue mission. The other brother-in-law is stronger than me and was in the Coast Guard, but panics in stressful situations. Really panics bad. I, on the other hand, am calm, know instinctively how to delegate, and work best under pressure. In most scenarios, he should leave the scene before me for the safety of everyone involved. I wonder if guys were saying "ladies first" and maybe missing out on some GI Jane who could have done something. Or, maybe, in such a fast moving situations, you go with the statiscal odds that the women will be weaker and send them off first. Shrug. I don't know the answer. I just find myself asking the question.



Janelle smells said...

Getting to save yourself first... It is our payment for bearing their children. It's one of the few perks we get.. enjoy it. LOLOLOL

Mommy said...

All valid points.

IMO, In emergency situations remaining calm and everyone working together toward the same goal is probably the most important point. Like when that guy got electrecuted and phillip called 911 even though the fire dept is literally 10 feet away. the fire men got there just as fast and the ambulance was on its way because he went with standard emergency training rather than critically analyzing the situation.
if "women and children first" is the accepted norm, it is faster to go with that than asking each person what their strengths and training is. I think there is definitely some room for improvement like children and caretaker adults, civilians, then military or civil officers... but it would need to become the standard for emergency situations to be effective.

Anonymous said...

"Women and children first" developed in an era when women were infantilized, legally and socially. So in that sense, it is clearly a relic of an attitude we have largely outgrown as a society.

But I'm not going to go into a feminist rant about how it should be tossed on the ash heap of history, because we really do need a generally-agreed on way of deciding who goes first. So, basically, Beth is right.