Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Cabin Air Quality Reporting:
Hot Cabin and Smoke, Odor, and Fumes (SOF)
Spring has sprung! And with that comes warmer weather as we approach the summer months, and with rising temperatures across the system, that means a likelihood for an uptick in two types of events: Hot cabin events, as well as Smoke, Odor, or Fume (SOF) events.
American Airlines will be ramping up for a big summer operation, and that means aircraft systems like the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) may be inoperative as this piece of equipment is highly overworked during warm weather months, and due to the push for operational reliability, This important piece of equipment is often left written-up. An inoperative APU and warm outside air conditions make for a potentially unsafe and unhealthy environment for both Flight Attendants and passengers.
When faced with a hot cabin scenario prior to boarding or an inoperative APU, please refer to Section 3.4.2. Guidelines for Boarding a Warm Aircraft in the IFM. Any time these procedures are followed due to an increased cabin temperature or if the APU is inoperative, please document these events with a Cabin ASAP report > Hot Cabin as well as a CERS report. We also ask that you please fill out a Hot Cabin Report Form on the APFA Safety and Security page.
If you believe in having experienced heat exhaustion from one of these events, please file an IOD.
An overworked APU can also cause a Smoke, Odor, or Fume event (SOF). APFA Safety and Security has been working alongside APA, and TWU, to address and strengthen procedures surrounding SOF events. A key resource in assisting our maintenance colleagues in investigating and repairing faulty APUs on aircraft written-up for a SOF event is reporting. If an event doesn’t get reported, it remains unknown to Tech Ops who could be working to eliminate the issue. If an aircraft is found to have experienced a SOF event due to a faulty APU, Tech Ops will pull the aircraft out of service to repair and replace the APU – reporting this is important!
If faced with a Cabin Odor or Fume event:
- Immediately provide details to the Flight Deck.
- You may also record the details of the event onto the CDW or Cabin Discrepancy Worksheet, so that it can be delivered to the captain who will record that information into the logbook.
Include the following details:
- Phase of flight – gate, taxi, takeoff, climb, descent, landing.
- Description of odor – musty, dirty sock, sweet, burnt plastic.
- Location within aircraft – where do you smell it.
- Duration of event – was it persistent throughout the flight or transient?
- Is anyone experiencing any symptoms and requires medical attention?
- Continue to update the flight deck should conditions change, improve, or worsen.
All Flight Attendants should submit this information into a CERS report within 24hrs so that tech ops can address it. You may also file a Cabin ASAP report under General/Specific Safety Concern > Fire/Smoke/Odor.
If immediately following the flight, you begin to experience any physical symptoms (chest tightness, profound fatigue, muscle aches, sinus congestion and/or a persistent cough), contact the Flight Service Daily Operations desk at IOC (682-315-7070) to report the event and your illness/ injury in order to receive the necessary assistance in seeking immediate medical treatment at the nearest hospital for proper testing of a possible exposure. Recommended testing should include a blood test to determine exposure. Flight Attendants may also contact MedAire for exposure to SOF events by calling 877-346-9174 or 480-333-3801.
If your injury requires immediate medical attention, go to the nearest emergency room.
More information about SOF events may be found on the APFA Safety and Security page, and in section 7.4 of the IFM under Safety. These procedures will also be further outlined in the 2nd quarter Inflight WBT’s.
Reporting events like SOF and Hot Cabin provides important data that we can use to continue pushing for better and safer working conditions that our members deserve.
Please continue to fly safe, and should you have any questions or concerns about SOF/Hot Cabin events, the procedures, or if you need assistance reporting them. Please get in touch with us at APFA Safety and Security at [email protected] or 817-540-0108.
APFA National Safety & Security Chair