Airlines are requiring passengers to wear masks inflight, and this has led to a needed change to inflight safety briefings.
At least on American Airlines ‘Oasis’ planes that lack video at each passenger’s seat, where there’s no safety video and flight attendants have to make announcement live, flight attendants are telling customers “face masks need to be removed prior to using oxygen.”
A passenger’s face mask will get in the way of the full flow of oxygen. Though I sort of feel like folks should just have to figure this out. The point of oxygen masks is to get oxygen into your system, and it won’t work well if a face mask is blocking the air flow. If someone gets this wrong, shouldn’t that be on them?
We’ve always been told to that parents need to put their own mask on first, before assisting young children. It doesn’t do anyone any good for the parent to pass out due to lack of oxygen while they wait to put their oxygen mask on. That’s an important reminder, perhaps less than obvious, so worth being told over and over so that it’s in the back of your mind when the time comes. But if you try to put an oxygen mask on over a face mask you’re going to realize the air just doesn’t get through right, right away.
Do we really need to tell someone they have to take off their face mask before putting on an oxygen mask? Do we really have to slow down for these people?
It’s like the instructions that say not to iron clothes while wearing them.
In 1984 a California man was tossing his toddler up and down in his living room. The kid loved it, and the father went higher and higher. Until the kid’s head hit the ceiling fan. Which was on. And the man sued the ceiling fan manufacturer for failing to warn him that this might be dangerous. This wasn’t the only man to sue over failure to warn after a ceiling fan injury.
So I can almost understand warnings like “this motorcycle contains no edible parts” and cartons of eggs that warn “this product may contain eggs” (or jars of peanut butter that flag, “may contain nuts or nut products”).
I have to think though that bureaucrats who insist that butane lighters warn “flame may cause fire” or people who need to be told “this electric drill is not intended for dental use” tell us that something is wrong with our society.
I get that mask wearing is new for those of us in the West. But none of this is going to work if we don’t assume – and exercise – some individual responsibility.
Then again, when a U.S. Senator, former Governor and candidate for President of the United States actually does iron his shirts while wearing them what chance to the rest of us have?