Do you know how to identify if you’ve breathed ventilation air contaminated with either oil or hydraulic fluid fumes? Are you aware of how important it is to seek immediate treatment if you’re showing symptoms of exposure? This month your Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee (ASHSC) presents Your Air Matters, a campaign designed to ensure that everyone knows how to identify possible signs of breathing these fumes onboard and the importance of seeking immediate treatment if you develop symptoms.
How Can I Identify Contaminated Cabin Air?
Is the unusual smell coming from the vents, or is it sourced to something in the cabin like galley equipment or a carryon? Though smoke or haze might be present, most incidents involving oil or hydraulic fumes only involve the presence of fumes (odor) in the cabin supply air without any visible smoke or haze. Characteristic odors include dirty socks, mold, old cheese, heated garbage, chemicals, or an electrical-like scent. Quickly try to identify where the fumes are coming from and what they smell like, and notify the pilots.
If You’re Showing Symptoms, Seek Treatment Immediately!
Time is of the essence if you’ve breathed those kinds of fumes. It is crucial to see a physician as soon as possible after a potential exposure. If you have symptoms of exposure to carbon monoxide (which can be present in the fumes) then you need to get your blood tested, ideally within a few hours.
Seeking immediate care also allows you to establish a medical history and begin treatment for your symptoms. A physician will be able to evaluate and create a timely record of your symptoms. By having an understanding of your health soon after exposure, this could assist with treatment options if your symptoms persist or worsen over time.
Know Where to Get Help
In the event that you need to use this information, you’ll want to know how to access it quickly.
Keep It with You
Pick up an air quality quick reference card from your base. Keep the card with your badge or in your purse or wallet in case you need it. You can also print your own card.
Find It On Your IMD or Mobile Phone
- Open Safari
- Type afaalaska.org in the menu bar
- Click “air quality exposure info” from the menu on the front page
Keep an eye on the AFA Alaska Facebook page and Twitter feed for more information about aircraft air quality throughout the month. If you have any questions, your Local Air Safety, Health, & Security Committee Members can help. Find their contact information on the ASHSC page of the AFA Alaska website.
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Yvette Satterlee, Lisa Pinkston, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Sandra Morrow, Stephen Couckuyt; LEC Presidents-Elect Timothy Green and Brice McGee; and MEC ASHSC Chairperson Seth Heiple