Signaling For Help




Smoke & Fire:

120123-F-GX122-123If you are stuck without a way to signal your rescuers, smoke and fire is one of the best options available.

Fresh greenery, oil, and rubber make thick visible clouds of smoke that can be seen for miles.  Think tires, hoses, and motor oil from your downed vehicle, or greenery from pine trees tossed on an already burning camp fire.  Tires burn for a long time and put out large volumes of smoke.

An international symbol for an emergency is anything in a triangle.  This includes smoke and fire.  Make sure that the three fires that make up your triangle are far enough apart to be differentiated from the air.

Orange smoke is an international distress signal.  These smoke devices can be purchased online or at boating stores.

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Emergency Whistle CodesWhistles are great for short range signaling.

Whistles are also useful for scaring off large animals and bears.

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A flashlight can be very effective at night.

Make sure to conserve your batteries by using the flashlight when you are certain rescue is near.

Morse Code for S.O.S = “. . . – – – . . .”

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There are a couple different types of flares. Day flares produce a bright color smoke that can be seen from the air, and night flares produce an extremely bright light that can be seen from far away.

Aerial and ground flares can be purchased in the boating section of any outdoors store.  Make sure that you understand how to properly and safely use them prior to actually needing them.  Keep them dry until needed or they won’t work.

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Bright Reflective Materials:

mirror-instructions-02_1024x1024Tinfoil, mirrors, metal, CD/DVDs, or anything that can reflect the sunlight can be used to attract attention.  Think rear-view or side-view mirrors from a disabled vehicle.

It is a good idea to have a signal mirror in your survival kit.

Morse Code for S.O.S. = “. . . – – – . . .”

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Cell Phone:

Even in the most unlikely places you may be able to get a cell signal.

As with all radio communications, attempt to find high ground for the best chance of getting a cell signal.

When you can’t get a data signal to send iChat (blue messages on your iPhone) or other types of data-based communications messages (Snapchat) on your smart phone, even with a very weak cellular signal you should still be able to text with conventional texting.  Even if the cell signal is too weak to complete a phone call, there may still be enough bandwidth to transmit a text message (green message on your iPhone).

Text everything that you want to say on one text message and send it to several people at once to help guarantee that someone will read it.  Depending on your phone, even if it doesn’t immediately receive a cellular signal, it will send your message if and when it does eventually make contact, even if for only a brief moment.  Even a long text message does not take very much bandwidth to send, so if your phone receives a weak signal for a very short time, there is a good chance that your message will still send.  Make sure to include in your message your location and status, if and where you are planning on moving, and that text messaging is the only way that you can communicate.

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Ham Radio:

A hand held ham radio will work anywhere in the world. They are lightweight and can be powered with a couple of AA Batteries.

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