Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What's the chances?

I've been doing a little research for a class I am teaching at Firehouse Expo in Baltimore this month. The program is titled "Does someone have to die before things will change?" It is focused on the changes that have been made in the commercial airline industry as a result of catastrophic accidents. In preparing this material, I was curious about the odds of dying in a plane crash today. This led to a broader curiosity about the chances of dying other ways. Here's the 4-1-1.

Your chances of:

Dying from heart disease: 1 in 5

Dying in an automobile accident: 1 in 18,585

Dying from a bee sting: 1 in 56,789

Dying from a lightening strike: 1 in 83,930

Dying in a airplane crash: 1 in 8.47 million (flying in one of the 25 safest airlines)

Why are your chances of dying in an airplane crash so low? Because the airline industry has learned from their mistakes and invested a lot of money in design and training to improve airline safety.

Aviation accidents are front page news, even if no one dies. Vehicle accidents, even when someone dies (unless they are someone famous), hardly get a mention... maybe page three of the local section.

As expensive as it is for airlines to design and implement safety programs (and all of us who fly thank them for their investment), they also know the cost of accidents are far greater. The old saying... an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure... applies here.

If you are one of those white-knuckle flyers, take respite in knowing that statistically speaking, you should be far more concerned with your daily commute to work than in taking that plane ride to you vacation destination. There... feel better? Now you can be a white-knuckled driver instead of a white-knuckled flyer. Safe travels... whatever your means of transportation.

By the way... your chances of dying (in general) are 1 in 1 (100%). We're all going at some point... so enjoy your time here.

Richard B. Gasaway, PhD, EFO, CFO

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