Proper use of oxygen mask could be lifesaving

Damian j. Troise, AP Business Writer

FILE- In this April 17, 2018, file photo provided by Marty Martinez, Martinez, left, appears with other passengers after a jet engine blew out on the Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 plane he was flying in from New York to Dallas, resulting in the death of a woman who was nearly sucked from a window during the flight. Video inside the cabin of the recent Southwest flight that lost cabin pressure above 30,000 feet shows many passengers improperly placing oxygen masks on their faces, putting their lives at risk. (Marty Martinez via AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Paying attention to flight attendants might save your life.

It's a simple message, but passengers often ignore or passively watch along as safety instructions are given prior to takeoff.

Images from this week's emergency landing of a Southwest Airlines flight, which lost cabin pressure above 30,000 feet, show several passengers improperly placing oxygen masks on their faces, putting their lives at risk.

For the record, here's the proper way to secure the mask:

— They will drop from a panel above you. You should pull them toward your face to extend the cord as needed.

— Place the mask over both your nose and mouth.

— With your free hand, pull the elastic string over your head and tighten as needed.

— Adults should always secure their masks first before assisting children. You'll be of no use if you pass out from oxygen deprivation.

On the Southwest flight, several passengers were only covering their mouths. That means they weren't getting the maximum flow of oxygen available to them.