Why You Should Put YOUR MASK On First (My Brain Without Oxygen) – Smarter Every Day 157

Why You Should Put YOUR MASK On First (My Brain Without Oxygen) – Smarter Every Day 157


All right, I’ll make it super fast. It’s me, Destin. Welcome back to SmarterEveryDay. When you’re in a jet, if the cabin depressurizes, they drop this
little mask out of the top. What happens if you’re in a depressurized
cabin and you’re up above 15,000 feet [4,500m] and you drop your mask? Something called
hypoxia takes effect and you got to do something about that. Let’s get smarter every day. You’ve heard the flight attendants say
this before, “Secure your own mask before helping others.” But why? Why did they say
that? Is the 30 seconds it takes to put on a kid’s mask next to me really that
important? 15 years ago I learned the answer to
this question when I was selected to participate in NASA’s Reduced Gravity
Student Flight Opportunities Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Before I got
to ride in the Vomit Comet I had to undergo physiological training in a
hypobaric chamber at the neutral buoyancy lab. Fast forward to now. Today, astronaut Don
Pettit is scheduled to renew his hypoxia training certification and I asked him
if it would be okay if I tagged along let me swim a few laps with him over the
International Space Station mock-up in the neutral buoyancy lab before we
headed over next door for Don’s training. – You look like something the dog dragged in.
– I feel like it, too.
The purpose of hypoxia training is to let astronauts
and aviators know when their brain’s about to stop working correctly, which is very, very important. If you’re at a high altitude in an airplane, the air is
thinner but the cabin is pressurized, so your body gets enough oxygen to operate. To simulate cabin depressurization, NASA puts its astronauts in a chamber at
sea level and then pumps the air out to thin it out, so that it simulates a
higher altitude. Don’s training starts with class work
focused on understanding the specific signs and symptoms of hypoxia in his own body. The goal of this training is to understand
your own physiological symptoms so that you can take action quickly. For example, Don said he experiences
tunnel vision and air hunger, but I remember for my training 15 years ago
that get really happy and start to tingle all over – I can’t take you seriously because this
is what you look like. – What do you mean? I look perfectly normal.
– [giggling] This is the experiment we’re going to do:
Don and I are both going to enter the hypobaric chamber at the same time and
fly to FL250, at which point we are going to remove our masks and start to
experience the effects of hypoxia. Don is the control. He’s a trained
astronaut who recognizes the symptoms for hypoxia and immediately corrects for them. I, on the other hand, am under the direct supervision of a NASA flight surgeon and after I notice the effects of hypoxia, I’ve asked if I could delay for about
one minute so we can better understand the physiological effects of not
immediately putting your mask on. OK, here we go, we’re getting set up. While Jerry gets me situated, I’m
going to talk about the two types of decompression: Number one, rapid
decompression this is like being inside of an explosion. You dump all your pressure instantly, all
the moisture condenses out of the air, you’re suddenly in a cloud.
Very scary, very violent Yeah, we’re not going to do that.
What we’re going to do is simulate a slow, steady leak. We’re going to start at sea
level and ascend at 5,000 feet [1,500m] per minute all the way up to 25,000 feet [7,500m], or as aviators call it, flight level 250 OK, I want to make one thing abundantly clear.
We performed this demonstration at 25,000 feet [7,500m]. I had about three to five minutes of consciousness left. However, most airliners travel at 35,000 feet [10,000m]. Look at this chart: There is way less oxygen up there. At 35,000 feet [10,000m] you literally have seconds
of useful consciousness at that altitude. You can go from a normally rational
person to someone so helpless you can even save yourself if your life depends
on it. I don’t- I don’t wanna die I don’t tell you this to scare you. I
simply want you to understand the physiology behind that little preflight
announcement. “Put your mask on first before helping others.” Look, I don’t want to get too deep or philosophical with this, but I think there’s a neat metaphor here. Sometimes it’s easy for me to see the
problems in other people and focus on that and I get so carried away with
fixing other people that I forget that I have a problem too. And I think that’s what’s so cool about
this demonstration. Sometimes you just got to put your mask on first and get yourself sorted before you can help others. – So thanks again for saving my life, by
the way.
– You’re welcome, it was an honor and a pleasure. – It was great.
– [Inaudible] all the time. –Thank you. There you go, now we learned why
you need to put your mask on first before you help other people.
You don’t want to get hypoxia. I’m Destin you’re getting smarter every day, have a good one. If you feel like this video earned your
subscription, feel free to click this box that I’m in right now or you can click
the support on patreon and you’ll be notified via email every time I release
a video. I want to say thank you to the awesome people at NASA’s neutral buoyancy laboratory. They kept me super safe, super informed and they educated me and made me smarter every moment I was with them. That was really awesome.
Thank you so much, guys Anyway, I’m Destin you’re getting smarter every day.
Have a good one. –What’s the deal here, Don?
– Well I cut the regular lens off of the goggles –OK
– and then I took an old pair of
glasses and I cut the plastic to fit my goggles and then I glued them on.
– You basically MacGyvered your own goggles, so that you had correction underwater. – That’s right.
– That’s pretty good.

100 Replies to “Why You Should Put YOUR MASK On First (My Brain Without Oxygen) – Smarter Every Day 157

  1. The guy from outside turn from laughing at you saying the wrong shape to telling "You're gonna DIE." When he tell you put your mask on, but you didn't.

  2. How does this compare and correspond with breath-holding? Does breath-holding training expand one's critical time-frame? May breath-holding have any sense during such an emergency? (I guess it will cause more rapid hypoxia, but perhaps it gives you a better perspective on that borderline, upon which you need to take action, instead of illusionary conciousness?)

  3. Clips of this video should be showed before every flight. Because I know if it were my kid next to me my instinct would be to help them first no matter what.

  4. Do the hypoxia training at 32K then and ACTUALLY see what happens. Not just what might have.

    What might have is a myth, until it's proven real.

  5. Why, when at altitudes in the order of 30-40 thousand feet do you have meagre seconds of complete consciousness, but you can hold your breath for longer? Like, wouldn't it be the time you can hold your breath and the time it takes for your cells to use up the oxygen in your blood before you begin feeling said effects?

  6. Kind of like the Bible says (paraphrasing). "Before you take the splinter out of your friend's eye, take the plank out of your own eye." Words to live by.

  7. Destin sitting, smiling, looking completely helpless, saying "I don't wanna die". One of the scariest things I have ever seen. They should show that little clip on every flight before takeoff.

  8. Don't give a CARCINOGEN (hamburger) to the person who just saved your life. This video was otherwise AWESOME!!!

  9. @SmarterEveryDay Hey Destin! Great movies! I love them.
    Now serious question – what is your math behind those "seconds" on 35000ft? Have you taken into account the amount of O2 in blood stream that is going to be pumped into your brain during this time? How long it takes for low Oxy blood to reach your brain? How long does it takes for your body to consume Oxy remaining in the cells?

    Asking because this calculation doesn't seem right to me, but I am not an expert.
    Can you clarify this please?

  10. there is something I dont understand, i can hold my breath well over 15-30 seconds, and I dont get any apoxia with no oxigent intake at all, how could be for 15-30 sec breathing low levels of oxygen give you hypoxia instead?

  11. Please talk about the great idea of building a great canal between Mexico and US, instead of building a great wall. Can you imagine what a great canal in this area would be to the commerce of Los Angeles and Florida Bay?

  12. I got to go on a tour of the Houston space center. And they had a 80ft pool with the mock iss in there,is that the same place because the only thing stopping me from jumping in that pool was wanting to go back.

  13. what if you breathe like mega fast without the mask in these circumstances?
    Will you hyperventilate, be fine, or will the effects of hypoxia still take place?

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