If anything has been drilled into me from all the pre-flight instructions I’ve received, it’s that if the oxygen mask falls down, I should place it over my head. I should then tug to ensure the oxygen is flowing (though it won’t inflate). After securing my own mask, I should help others around me secure their own.
Phew, that’s a lot to remember.
But what I learned is, first–the plane is not filled with oxygen reserves. (I’ll pause to let that shock sink in). When you breath in through the oxygen masks, you are tapping into a reserve of various chemicals that eventually mix to produce… oxygen.
Problem #1 solved.
But I’m curious. Once these masks are on, how much oxygen do they actually produce?
But it isn’t quite so scary. The oxygen masks usually fall down when an emergency has occurred–the cabin pressure has changed, etc. When something like that happens, the place is already looking to emergency land.
Within that fifteen minutes, the plane will be close to (or actually on) the ground, and regular breathing can resume. Phew. (literally and figuratively).
But if the airplane had to pull a Sharknado 3 and go to outer-space–well, I don’t think there would be enough oxygen on board in that case.