How does a wet cloth really help (scientifically) to survive an airplane crash?

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On Fri, 16 May 2014 03:52:45 +0000, Ann Marie Brest wrote:

This flight safety PDF titled "Guarding the airways", is of interest: http://flightsafety.org/download_file_iframe.php?filepath=/asw/sept06/asw_sept06_p28-30.pdf
It mentions only that the "wet cloth" prevents irritation, which we're not concerned with in this discussion.
They also explained that the "dry" heat of a cabin fire isn't of great concern: "the human body’s upper airway naturally provides significant protection to the lower airway and lungs against extreme heat from hot, dry air".
I'm pretty surprised about those findings, but they in this article specifically about guarding your airway during an airplane cabin fire.
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On Fri, 16 May 2014 04:00:28 +0000, Ann Marie Brest wrote:

This Airbus briefing discusses HOW to use the wet towels properly: http://airbus.com/fileadmin/media_gallery/files/safety_library_items/AirbusSafetyLib_-FLT_OPS-CAB_OPS-SEQ06.pdf
"Use wet towels, a wet cloth, or a head rest cover to reduce some of the effects of smoke inhalation. Instruct passengers to hold the wet towel/cloth over their noses and mouth and breathe through it." . This onboard emergency description mentions not to use ALCOHOL: http://www.casa.gov.au/wcmswr/_assets/main/fsa/1999/apr/apr_fire.pdf "To limit the effects of toxic fumes, a wet cloth should be placed over your nose and mouth (a headrest cover or any other available fabric is suitable). Use water, soft drink or other non-alcoholic beverages to moisten the fabric."
Given that alcoholic drinks are almost all water anyway, I wonder why they bothered to mention non-alcoholic drinks?
Does alcohol on the wet fabric do anything different with HCN?
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On Fri, 16 May 2014 04:00:28 +0000, Ann Marie Brest wrote:

Here they mention the heat inside your body during a cabin fire: http://wenku.baidu.com/view/8abb4621aaea998fcc220e6f.html
"In an aircraft accident that involves a fuel-fed fire, cabin air temperatures could be expected to reach 662 degrees F (350 degrees C) and higher. During inhalation, the air temperature might be reduced to between 360 degrees F and 302 degrees F (182 degrees C and 150 degrees C [respectively]) by the time the air reached the larynx"
They also mention the wet towel, although they talk about things that aren't safety related (apparently only the HCN is what we care about for the wet towel): “Wet towels will filter out smoke particles, acid gases such as hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride, and hydrogen cyanide. Breathing through clothing will also filter out smoke particles, but it will be less effective in filtering out acid gases and hydrogen cyanide. Neither a wet towel nor clothing will filter out carbon monoxide.”
As an aside, they mentioned that slowing down people for one second could cost one life, so, you don't want incapacitated people blocking the aisles.
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On Fri, 16 May 2014 05:19:33 +0200, nestork wrote:

Until I read the referenced articles, I would also have believed that filtering the smoke itself might have been a key safety issue.
But, we don't have any proof yet that smoke particles are anything we care about from an inhalation standpoint during a cabin fire.
In fact, this detailed article about all the negative effects of a fire mainly discuss "smoke density" as a visual impairment factor, and not as a critical inhalent (see page 39 of 47):
"Compilation of Data on the Sublethal Effects of Fire Effluent" http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/fire09/PDF/f09033.pdf
What we seem to care about is hydrogen cyanide, which is soluble in water. So the web towel apparently absorbs the HCN before you do.
On page 19 of 47, there is a table of the results of experiments of HCN gases on a variety of mammals, since they say only one human study was ever done. However, it's hard for me to extrapolate that table to what happens in a real cabin fire.
So, what we really need is the key datapoint: a. What is the concentration of HCN in a typical aircraft fire?
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On Thu, 15 May 2014 21:46:22 -0700, Bob F wrote:

I would tend to wish to agree, since we've all heard about firefighters being treated for "smoke inhalation".
However, if particulates were a thread to life, why wouldn't the FAA and the other cabin fire articles previously posted mention smoke particles as anything more than an irritant?
Science, being what science is, doesn't always agree with our gut feelings.
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On Friday, May 16, 2014 6:59:29 AM UTC-4, Ann Marie Brest wrote:

As others have said, they focused on the main cause of deaths in fires and that is the gases. That doesn't mean that particles are not also dangerous and life threatening. People that wind up hospitalized or die, typically die from a combined effect of everything to their lungs, ie gases, heat, particulate inhalation. It makes sense the gases are the most serious, but if you had some exposure to toxic gases, would you rather show up at the hospital with just that, or with your lungs full of soot and the irritation from that too? Some of these people just barely survive and whether they've inhaled particulates or not could make the difference.

Just because someone writing a brief article doesn't specifically mention something, doesn't constitute science.
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On Friday, May 16, 2014 6:59:29 AM UTC-4, Ann Marie Brest wrote:

Do you not understand that an irritant in the lungs is serious? More people die every year from asthma than do from airplane fires. When you irritate something, particularly with particles from a fire, which could be all kinds of bad stuff, it gets inflamed. If you irritate your arm enough, what happens? It gets red, inflamed, can start to weep fluid, etc. No imagine that happening not to your arm, but your lungs that you depend on oxygen for. Lungs that also have damage from heat, from the gases. Now you pile more irritation from soot, particles. Can't you see how that can help kill you?
From NFPA, which should know a hell of a lot about fires:
http://www.nfpa.org/press-room/reporters-guide-to-fire-and-nfpa/consequence s-of-fire
"The killing fumes Most fire deaths are not caused by burns, but by smoke inhalation. Often s moke incapacitates so quickly that people are overcome and can't make it to an otherwise accessible exit. The synthetic materials commonplace in today 's homes produce especially dangerous substances. As a fire grows inside a building, it will often consume most of the available oxygen, slowing the b urning process. This "incomplete combustion" results in toxic gases. Smoke is made of components that can each be lethal in its own way:
particles: Unburned, partially burned, and completely burned substances can be so small they penetrate the respiratory system's protective filters, an d lodge in the lungs. Some are actively toxic; others are irritating to the eyes and digestive system. vapors: Foglike droplets of liquid can poison if inhaled or absorbed throug h the skin. toxic gases: The most common, carbon monoxide (CO), can be deadly, even in small quantities, as it replaced oxygen in the bloodstream. Hydrogen cyanid e results from the burning of plastics, such as PVC pipe, and interferes wi th cellular respiration. Phosgene is formed when household products, such a s vinyl materials, are burned. At low levels, phosgene can cause itchy eyes and a sore throat; at higher levels it can cause pulmonary edema and death "
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On Thu, 15 May 2014 16:46:21 -0700, Ann Marie Brest

Why do they always boil water when a baby is coming?
Do babies drink coffee?
(on TV)

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On Fri, 16 May 2014 03:26:21 +0000 (UTC), Ann Marie Brest

Wow. That's good to have suggested. I certainly don't need any HCn or HCl.

How can we safely assume that? I'd assume the opposite.

I think what you have is a 3-page** article where they decided to be brief and not emphasize every problem. It's meant as advice and not a scientific paper, so they've taken a short, clear-cut approach.
**Less than 3, given the pictures and the line spacing.

Irritants irritate me. Anyhow, when HCl mixes with water it turns into hydrocholoric acid, one of the stronger acids. I don't want that in my lungs.

Yes, that's how they kill people in the gas chamber.
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On Fri, 16 May 2014 05:19:33 +0200, nestork

Hey, finally a benefit from my prostate problems. And truly, I was just now wondering where to get water for the wet cloth.

Do you remember Everett Dirkson and how he talked. I read many years ago that that was from being gassed in WWI, not enough to be killed obviously. Couldn't find a trace about that on the web, even though wikip or something remarked on his voice.
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On Fri, 16 May 2014 04:33:21 +0000 (UTC), Ann Marie Brest

I think we're allowed to take judicial notice of everything else we've learned in our lives.
It is frequenty reported that someone dies of smoke inhalation. That's certainly something to care about. It may take longer than dying from cynanide, but it's still bad.
I'm pretty sure the amount of cyanide varies widely from one airplane fire to another, but there is no time to measure it.

Who says there is a typical aircraft fire wrt HCN?
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On Fri, 16 May 2014 04:00:28 +0000 (UTC), Ann Marie Brest

Speak for yourself, John.
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LOL! just popped out for a spot of tea?
However the heat from the hot water and towels dilates the cervix really fast, but does increase the risk of infection.
Years ago, newspapers were used too, because they were steam press rolled and sterilized, but not today.
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On Fri, 16 May 2014 07:34:02 -0400, micky wrote:

I also would have assumed the opposite, had I not read the articles, which prove our assumptions invalid.
The other articles on cabin fires went into nice detail as to how hydrogen cyanide acts as a cellular asphyxiant by binding to mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase.
They explicitly stated that smoke particles are not deadly in an airplane crash.
So, what you, or I, would have assumed about smoke itself being deadly, is apparently wrong.
If you still think your (and my) initial assumption is right, then what we need is an article about cabin fires which says both that the smoke particles are deadly, and, that a wet cloth reduces them.
Otherwise, we're just making non-scientific assumptions.
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On Friday, May 16, 2014 9:51:56 AM UTC-4, Ann Marie Brest wrote:

Your making all kinds of bizarre leaps here. Just because inhalation of smoke particles during a fire isn't mentioned as deadly or the major cause of fatalities, doesn't mean that it's just an inconvenience. Some people die just from an asthma attack, so it seems entirely possible that inhaling soot could be a factor in whether somone survives or not. Most serious fire victims are going to have heat, gas, and particle inhalation and I would expect that you could have patients that survive because they didn't have the additional burden of the particles, while others that did inhale it die. The leading cause, the thing to be most worried about, etc is still the gases and heat, but that doesn't mean particle inhalation is just an inconvenience.

IDK what other article you're talking about. Link?

http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/print/volume-162/issue-8/features/t oxicology-of-smoke-inhalation.html
So far, all I see is you making wild assumptions. You're taking a fire guide for idiots from the FAA, as a scientific source. It's not. It's a layman's guide. It also looks like it could have been written in the 50's or 60's. And then you infer that because they don't say something, that means that soot inhalation is not a serious, possibly life threatening factor? It's just an inconvenience?
Here, from Fire Engineering. Not exactly a medical authority, but it is a lot more detailed as to the effects.
"Autopsy and experimental data show that serious injury and death result fr om exposure to contact irritants, primarily hydrogen chloride, and the cent ral systemic poisons, carbon monoxide (CO) and cyanide.1 Contact irritants cause cellular damage and death. In response to irritants, cells release fl uids, causing massive edema. Additional inflammatory responses cause cells to lose integrity and die.2
Systemic poisons are absorbed into the blood through the lungs. They act on specific cells in the body or within specific parts of every cell. Systemi c poisons either inhibit critical cell functions or cause cellular death.
Contact irritants include particulate matter such as soot. Particles larger than five microns will lodge in the upper airways, causing mechanical obst ruction. They are observed in the nose and the mouth. Particles smaller tha n one micron are inhaled deep into the lungs, where the carbonaceous soot i s toxic to the macrophages. Macrophages are cells that remove foreign parti cles. Heavy metals coating the surface of soot cause direct lung damage by forming free oxygen radicals which damage cilia and alveolar surfaces."
That doesn't sound like just an inconvenience.
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On Fri, 16 May 2014 05:46:19 -0700, trader_4 wrote:

Science isn't what you are I guess. Science is what can be tested & proven.
I'd be glad if you can find a tested/proven article on airplane fires which says that smoke particles, in and of themselves, constitute a life-threatening danger in the time it takes to exit a burning airplane.
We found more than a half dozen sources, including scientific papers, none of which said that the smoke particles were the immediate danger in cabin fires - nor did we find anything that said a wet cloth filters them out.
If we are to assume smoke particles are a life-threatening danger, we'd have to find at least one scientific article that said that the particulate matter itself could kill us in the time of a cabin fire.
Even then, we'd have to know that a wet towel would filter out those particles.
I looked for papers backing up our (apparently erroneous) assumptions. I can't find any.
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On Friday, May 16, 2014 10:00:46 AM UTC-4, Ann Marie Brest wrote:

I've forgotten more science than you'll ever know. You started off with a guide for dummies from the FAA. Besides not being really scientific at all, it looks like it could have been written in the 50's. It's just a guide to get people to suggest people use a wet cloth. But whatever, you then proceed to use the fact that they don't specifically state something, to it being safe to assume that "particle inhalation during a fire is just an inconvenience"

Now you're trying to spin and change this into soemthing different. You claimed that particle inhalation was just an inconvenience. Your own reference, Aviation Safety World, clearly says otherwise. Page 29, bottom right hand corner, they say that one of the primary causes of smoke inhalation injury in an aircraft fire is soot and dust. Did you even read it?

More spinning. Now you're trying to shift to "immediate danger". Just because it's not an immediate danger, doesn't mean it can't be part of what leads to your death in the hospital 3 days later. It doesn't make it safe to assume that inhaling particles is "just an inconvenience".
And why all this interest in a wet rag in an aircraft fire anyway? The incidence of these is small, and the cases where a wet rag would make a difference is miniscule.

That's because you can't read or comprehend what you find. And I don't know who you're speaking about in terms of erroneous assumptions. It's a strawman. You're the one who thinks because something isn't explicitly stated, that "we can safely assume". And that's lead you to the incorrect conclusion that smoke particle inhalation is just an "inconvenience". Your own source says it's one of the primary sources of inhalation injury.
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On Fri, 16 May 2014 07:48:32 -0400, micky wrote:

I agree that we don't have actual ppm levels documented yet, but, we do know that the hydrogen cyanide gas is deadly within minutes.
One of the papers said death ensues within minutes.
Another one discussed how a hundred people died, none of whom had traumatic injury, all of whom died from the toxicity of the gases in the fire.
What we don't know is the ppm concentration REDUCTION that a wet towel provides us.
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On Fri, 16 May 2014 06:51:56 -0700, Ann Marie Brest

Was there any mention of the radiated heat from these fires? After personally experiencing a major fire in a building adjacent to our home, I learned to apprecaite that aspect. For certain, a wet cloth over the head would help shield. To see the potential shielding just envision sticking your head into a barbecue pit with, and without, the wet towel. The air into your lungs gets cooled so won't sear as much and at least your corneas should remain intact.
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On Thu, 15 May 2014 20:19:33 -0700, nestork

I also heard that in the field urinate upon a 'dirty' wound to wash it, because urine is more sanitary than all that muck in there.
Also, heard good for jelly fish sting, at least appears in some films as such.
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