CUPE flight attendants at Air Canada are safety professionals who play an important role in ensuring the safety and security of the more than 100 thousand passengers daily, who fly across Canada and around the world.
Air Canada flight attendants are thoroughly trained to perform all traditional safety-related duties as outlined in the flight attendant Safety Manual. These, of course, include the familiar safety demonstrations and in-flight announcements which kick-off each flight and our ability to quickly respond to a variety of in-flight situations. Flight attendants are trained to remain calm at all times, despite occasionally unexpected, or unusually demanding circumstances.
Now, more than ever, the key role of flight attendants is to ensure that passengers can count on us, both on an ongoing basis and also in any emergency. As the first line of defence while flying Air Canada, flight attendants are trained to respond to the following situations:
Air Canada cabin personnel are trained to specifically deal with smoke situations and to fight fires onboard aircraft. The prompt response of cabin crew to the presence of an onboard fire is critical for survival. Toxic gases generated by the combustion of burning cabin materials pose the most serious threat to aircraft occupants in addition to excessive heat and smoke. Fire poses one of the most serious threats to an aircraft in operation.
Cabin decompression pressurization leaks are often caused by leaking aircraft windows, doors, and exit seals. Air Canada cabin personnel are trained to recognize suspected slow pressurization leaks. These may have gradual effects on aircraft occupants, the most serious being hypoxia.
There are also events know as rapid decompressions. Cabin crew or other aircraft occupants may not have advance warning. They can appear to be explosive with the cabin air leaving the aircraft with much force and noise.
Post decompression first-aid and other specialized training are the primary means with which our cabin personnel will attend to passengers and fellow crew members.
Extreme, and often frightening, behaviour by unruly passengers, commonly known as "air rage," can lead to tense situations, and put both passengers and flight attendants at personal risk. Reasons for unruly behaviour include excessive alcohol consumption (often prior to boarding the plane), smoking bans (especially on long flights), or basic fear of flying. Air Canada flight attendants are trained to deal with this relatively new phenomenon by Cabin Defence & Security Training.
The events following 11th September 2001 have changed both the crew and a passenger experience onboard an aircraft. Transport Canada has required air operators, such as Air Canada, to implement specific training to detect, prevent, and react to security breaches and other unlawful acts toward aircraft and aircraft occupants
Air Canada cabin crew are trained to evacuate an aircraft upon initial employment with the airline. Every year attendants are retrained and practice very specific procedures in how an emergency evacuation of an aircraft must take place.
The objective for Air Canada cabin crew when evacuating an aircraft is to ensure the survival of passengers. Cabin crew must strive to evacuate passengers from the aircraft within 90 seconds. Assertive behaviour and leadership is required to control the evacuation.
Air Canada cabin crew must also know how to respond to an evacuation on land and on water, and how to attend to passengers post evacuation such as providing first aid and how to plan for survival.
Air Canada cabin crew are extensively trained in aviation first aid. Our objectives remain those of other first aid providers: to preserve life, prevent the injury or illness from becoming worse, and to promote recovery. Naturally, the fact that we provide first aid onboard aircraft requires specialized training. We are also trained to deal with many types of medical emergencies from contagious diseases to various serious medical conditions.
Our "in-charge flight attendants" are also trained in automated defibrillation for cardiac emergencies and all cabin crew are trained to provide artificial respiration, as required.