Compass Flight Attendants Prepare for Medical Emergencies at 40,000 Feet

Compass Inflight Instructor Shelle Gustafson had the opportunity to listen in on MedAire calls from around the world at MedAire’s global response service center in Phoenix.

To the average passenger, it may seem like a flight attendant’s main responsibilities are serving drinks and demonstrating how to use the seatbelt properly.  However, there’s a lot more to it than that – flight attendants must also be prepared to deal with any emergency they may encounter during a flight.  Before a Compass flight attendant is released from training, they must first undergo weeks of preparation that includes emergency equipment operation, self-defense, and life-saving techniques, including CPR.

One of the most stressful situations that a flight attendant can face in the air is a passenger experiencing a medical emergency.  Flight attendants must stay calm and administer emergency medical treatment until the passenger stabilizes or until the flight is able to land.  If a passenger takes ill in the air, flight crews contact MedAire, an emergency response service that provides medical guidance remotely.  MedAire gauges the severity of the situation and advises the crew how to react – some passengers may only need fluids or oxygen administered, while more serious emergencies may justify diverting the flight.  Should a diversion be warranted, MedAire works with Compass pilots to determine where the flight should divert to, based on the passenger’s medical needs and the aircraft’s location at the time.

Compass Inflight Instructors like Elizabeth Blair are responsible for preparing student flight attendants for medical emergencies that they may face on the job.  Recently, Elizabeth and other Inflight Instructors traveled to Phoenix, where they spent two days receiving advanced training, as well as studying CPR and first aid, with MedAire emergency response experts.  While in Phoenix, the team also had the opportunity to observe MedAire’s global response service center, where communication specialists, emergency physicians, and nurses respond to inflight calls from around the world, ranging from minor to major medical emergencies.

The training highlighted just how important it is for Inflight Instructors to stay current on the most up-to-date emergency medical procedures – even an experienced Instructor like Elizabeth learned something new.  “I learned that there is a specific CPR position called airplane CPR,” she said, “which should be used when CPR is being given in the aisle of an airplane.”  Elizabeth found the training to be immensely valuable, and went on to remark

“As flight attendants, we must be empowered to make the best possible decisions when it comes to our passengers’ safety.  This training has enhanced our ability to do just that.  We are looking forward to incorporating what we learned into our flight attendant training program.”

If you love to travel, have exemplary customer service skills and stay cool under pressure, becoming a flight attendant could be a great fit for you.  Visit our website to learn more and apply online.

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