"Since its inception, the National Transportation Safety Board has been concerned about the evacuation of commercial airplanes in the event of an emergency. Several accidents investigated by the Safety Board in the last decade that involved emergency evacuations prompted the Safety Board to conduct a study on the evacuation of commercial airplanes. The study described in this report is the first prospective study of emergency evacuation of commercial airplanes. For the study, the Safety Board investigated 46 evacuations that occurred between September 1997 and June 1999 that involved 2,651 passengers. Eighteen different aircraft types were represented in the study. Based on information collected from the passengers, the flight attendants, the flight crews, the air carriers, and the aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) units, the Safety Board examined the following safety issues in the study: (a) certification issues related to airplane evacuation, (b) the effectiveness of evacuation equipment, (c) the adequacy of air carrier and ARFF guidance and procedures related to evacuations, and (d) communication issues related to evacuations. The study also compiled some general statistics on evacuations, including the number of evacuations and the types and number of passenger injuries incurred during evacuations. As a result of the study, the National Transportation Safety Board issued 20 safety recommendations and reiterated 3 safety recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration."
United States National Transportation Safety Board: http://www.ntsb.gov/