It’s been a long winter and it’s time you get your safety gear out of storage. Before you get back on your plane, make sure your vest is fit to fly.
Check the condition of your life vest
At the beginning of each season, it’s important to do a visual inspection of your life vest. You should check the cover for any rips, tears or holes and that all zippers and hardware are working properly. Confirm that all straps are firmly attached.
Check the status of the inflator to make sure its properly installed. You can also orally inflate your life vest to check for leaks by leaving the inflated bladder overnight and if it leaks, it is time to replace the bladder.
Maintaining your life vest
When not in use, avoid leaving it in direct sun. This will cause deterioration and fading. Keeping your life vest clean will extend the life expectancy and functionality. Life vests should be cleaned immediately if stains like food or sunscreen are visible.
With care and regular servicing, your life vest can last many years. FAA TSO life vests are required to be inspected every two years. Even if you are not required to carry an FAA TSO vest, each manufacturer has a recommended service interval, which you should stick to. Generally, the longer you wait for servicing, the more expensive your service costs will be, or the vest may have degraded to a point where it is unserviceable.
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