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Incident-Accident Manual


“Should it happen to you . . .”


The chance that you will ever be involved in an aircraft incident or accident is small; however, we all know the possibility exists and we need to be prepared for it. These guidelines and procedures have been prepared by the APFA Safety Department to assist you.

We urge you to become familiar with the information contained in this manual and to carry it with you any time you are flying. First and foremost, if you are ever involved in an incident or accident, call the APFA for help as soon as possible. Our number one priority is your safety and your physical and mental well-being. We are trained and ready “should it happen to YOU.”


-Proceed to a safe location, e.g., operations, hotel, hospital

1-800-395-APFA (2732), ext. 8302
(or) from DFW Metroplex (817) 540-0108, ext. 8302
– Be prepared to provide basic information about the event. If leaving a message, remember to leave
your name and a phone number where you can be reached.
– Wait for representation before expressing concerns, questions, or opinions.


Your Safety Team

The APFA Safety Team is available to provide you with the assistance, support and protection that may be required. The APFA Safety Team consists of a large group of dedicated representatives. Some are elected. Some are appointed. Others are willing volunteers. Once you become involved in an incident or accident you will immediately become an integral part of this Safety Team. These representatives will aid you by addressing your immediate physical needs (personal amenities, phone calls to your family) as well as protecting your privacy. We will also offer assistance in organizing the sequence of events for your subsequent documentation.

Alcohol and Drug Testing

There is always the possibility that you may be alcohol and/or drug tested following an incident/accident. American Airlines is required under *FAR 121, Appendix I & J, to administer an alcohol test within 8 hours and/or a drug test within 32 hours if your performance of a safety sensitive function either contributed to the accident or cannot be completely discounted as a contributing factor to the accident. YOU MAY NOT REFUSE TO SUBMIT TO A POST-ACCIDENT ALCOHOL/DRUG TEST. (See Appendix I for an example of the test directive.)

*Federal Aviation Regulations Part 121 are the federal operating requirements for U.S. air carriers.

Interview Guidelines

After an incident or accident, essential interviews will be scheduled. Separate interviews could be required by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), AA Safety/Training departments and /or local law enforcement. Realize you may be in shock and not know it. Therefore, someone other than you should determine if you are physically and mentally able to answer questions. If you have any questions, opinions or concerns, wait for representation. Voicing an opinion of carelessness or negligence on the part of any crewmember can be misinterpreted. Unfounded speculation as to the cause of the incident is dangerous.

1. Avoid any official or unofficial interview with any government agency (e.g., NTSB, FAA), without first consulting with a member of the APFA Safety Department. In an official interview, an APFA Safety Representative will be present.

2. Always tell the truth.

3. Keep your answers short and to the point. If you find yourself saying, “I think . . ., ” the validity of your statement has been jeopardized. “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” are totally acceptable answers.

4. Retain copies of all written reports you prepare.

Critical Incident Stress Debrief

History has shown that flight attendants who have been through incidents and accidents may experience feelings of frustration, helplessness, loneliness, withdrawal, guilt, rage or other associated symptoms of stress in varying degrees. Critical incident stress is a normal reaction to an abnormal event. Each person and his/her response to and recovery from the event varies. What is most needed, according to these flight attendants, is someone with whom they can have an informal discussion about the feelings and emotions brought about by an incident/accident. The APFA and American Airlines have jointly formed the Critical Incident Stress Debrief (CISD) Program which will provide trained APFA and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Representatives to assist flight attendants. The CISD is a service provided to our members who have experienced a particularly stressful event at work such as an assault, an injury due to turbulence, a medical emergency, an emergency evacuation or a security threat. It is a special kind of debrief which will address emotional well-being. It is separate from the debrief which may be conducted by the Flight Service and Training departments. The CISD will be conducted by trained representatives from the APFA and EAP only.

When you return to base following an incident/accident, you will be met by a member of Flight Service who will give you information regarding the CISD. This debrief should be arranged within the next few days. Flight Service will coordinate the date, time and place. It is important that you provide them with a contact number so this information can be relayed to you. If you have a trip scheduled on the day of the CISD, you will be removed with pay in order to attend. The Flight Service Manager will also give you telephone numbers of the trained CISD members at your base so you can call if you have questions or concerns before the CISD takes place. Base representatives and Flight Service will assist you after the CISD with any special needs you may have. Peer support and the CISD are designed to empower flight attendants to take whatever steps are necessary to return to their daily routine.

Everything said at a CISD is confidential and will not be shared with anyone else. You will have a chance to talk about what happened and how you feel about it. You’ll get useful information about what to expect after a stressful incident and how to make the best use of your own unique coping skills. Flight Attendants who have participated in a CISD have found it to be a worthwhile and interesting experience.


Throughout this booklet you will see the word “incident” or “accident.”

Incident – an occurrence other than an accident associated with the operation of an aircraft which affects or could affect the safety of operations.

Accident – an event that results in fatalities, serious injuries, or substantial aircraft damage.

It is important to note that the determination of whether an event is classified as an incident or accident is made by the NTSB. A reclassification may occur, due to changing circumstances, any time after the occurrence.

The APFA Go-Team may participate as a designated party to the investigation under the direction of the NTSB in the same capacity and on the same working-level as American, APA, aircraft manufacturers and other representative groups. After establishing a central command center at APFA headquarters, Go-Team members, trained in accident investigation procedures, may travel to the accident site and participate in the field investigation phase of the accident.

NTSB classification of Accidents.

1. Major – an accident in which any of three conditions is met:
– FAR part 121 aircraft was destroyed, or
– there were multiple fatalities, or
– there was one fatality and a FAR part 121 aircraft was substantially damaged.

2. Serious – an accident in which at least one of two conditions is met:
– there was one fatality without substantial damage to a FAR part 121 aircraft, or
– there was at least one serious injury, and a FAR part 121 aircraft was substantially damaged.

3. Injury – a nonfatal accident with at least one serious injury and without substantial damage to a FAR
part 121 aircraft.
4. Damage – an accident in which no person was killed or seriously injured, but in which an aircraft was substantially damaged.

Source: NTSB Title 49, Chapter VIII


The NTSB policy provides that a Flight Attendant may have a personal representative present at an NTSB interview. *Each crewmember, if physically able at the time the report is submitted, shall attach a statement setting forth the facts, conditions, and circumstances relating to the incident/accident as they appear to him/her. If the crewmember is incapacitated, he/she shall submit the statement as soon as he/she is physically able.

If you are hospitalized or require medical attention, the NTSB will interview you only when you and your medical advisor determine you can give a coherent statement.

Although the crew is obligated to aid the NTSB in its investigation of the incident/accident, the investigation must be conducted in a reasonable manner to ensure that crewmembers’ rights are protected. This would include waiting a reasonable period of time until crewmembers have had an opportunity to discuss and review the incident/accident with their representatives and amongst themselves.

*NTSB 830-6 Subpart D – Reporting of Aircraft Accident, Incidents and Overdue Aircraft, 9-29-95,(B)

Crewmember Statement

The FAA can require a crew involved in an incident/accident to give their names, addresses and to show their I.D.’s to FAA representatives. A crewmember should never relinquish his/her I.D. to an FAA Investigator or any other investigator.

If the news media should contact you or your crew, make no statements and answer no questions.

If you have any opinions, questions or concerns pertaining to the event, speak with an APFA Safety representative before making any type of statement to anyone including government agencies. Remember, APFA’s only vested interest in the investigation is you.


The Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) was developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to establish a database of cabin incidents to aid in the research into current and future safety concerns. The system enables you to report with anonymity unsafe events. These documented “unusual occurrences” in a database can establish direction for research in cabin safety and survival factors relating to commercial aviation.

This form may be obtained from the APFA Safety Department. Once completed, it can be mailed, postage paid, to the address on the form. (See Appendix 2 for an example of the form.)


This information has been compiled and prepared by the APFA Safety Department Go-Team at the direction of the APFA National Officers and Board of Directors. We hope it will become an indispensable tool for you should you be involved in an incident or accident.

Prevention is the ultimate goal of an investigation. Lessons learned from our actions and observations during an incident/accident are a vital part of this process. The information collected from these experiences may contribute considerably toward the prevention of future occurrences.

While we would rather the information contained in this manual never be needed, we believe that these incident/accident response guidelines should be as clear in our minds as our emergency procedures.

Most importantly, remember, the APFA Safety Team is prepared and ready to assist, “should it happen to YOU . . .”


(Employee Name – Print) Please read this form in its entirety.
(Employee Number) Please also verify your name and employee number before signing.

In accordance with the Company’s drug testing plan and alcohol certification statement, which is required by the Federal Aviation Administration anti-drug and alcohol misuse regulation 14 CFR Part 121 App. I and J, you are hereby directed to provide a urine and breath specimen for drug and alcohol testing.

The accident in which you were involved meets the NTSB’s definition of an accident and your performance contributed to or could not be completely discounted as contributing to such accident.

You are directed to immediately accompany me to the Company designated collection site.

In order to fairly enforce the Company’s drug and alcohol testing policy, I am further required to inform you that failure to report and provide a urine and breath specimen or failure to cooperate in the testing process will result in your termination (Insubordination – Rule 7).

Supervisor or Designee Signature Trained in AMR Drug/Alcohol Testing Plan ________________________________ Yes/No

Concurring Supervisor Trained in AMR Drug/Alcohol Testing Plan ________________________________ Yes/No

Acknowledgment: I hereby acknowledge the above directive for alcohol and drug testing.

Employee Signature _________________________________ /

Medical Arrival Time/Initials

FAA Post Accident Directive: December 1994
FAA Post Accident Directive: December 1994 (FAAPA.DOC)

1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

Phone: (817) 540-0108
Fax: (817) 540-2077


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