You Should Always Put Your Oxygen Mask on First – Here's Why

Trevor English

If you have ridden in a plane during your lifetime, you know the long drawn out safety speech where the flight attendants tell you to always put your mask on before helping others. While you may be thinking this sounds a little selfish, there is a very good reason that you should listen to them. At a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, it takes only seconds to become disoriented and pass out due to lack of oxygen. This means if you help a child first, it may be too late before you can help yourself. Smarter Every Day went to extreme limits to make it clear why you should always put your mask on first, check it out below.

The condition developed from lack of oxygen when depressurization in a plane occurs is called dysphoria. On commercial airliners, if the cabin were to rapidly depressurize, your body's O2 saturation would fall to dangerous levels in under 10 seconds. So, when the masks come down, you should always put yours on first before helping a child. Once you are safe, you can put the mask on the child. Even if the child is passed out, putting a mask on them will still render them okay in the long run.

070208-N-8268B-001 Keyport, Wash. (Feb. 8, 2007) - Navy Diver 1st class Mike Barnett and Navy Diver 1st Class Chad Christensen test built-in breathing masks inside a recompression chamber located in the dive locker at Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Keyport. The recompression chamber is used to treat diving related disorders and other medical conditions with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Andrew Breese (RELEASED)[Image Source: Wikimedia]

Once your O2 saturation gets below 60%, death can occur at any moment, which makes the action of putting your mask on first even more relevant. Remember, in the event of an air danger, you need to worry about yourself before you help others. There may be hidden risks, and you can't help others if you are passed out, can you?

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