Let’s hope you never need to signal for help in an emergency. Still, if the situation should arise, you want to know that you can do it effectively. You should practice signalling for use before you are stuck out in the wild alone.
It is a great idea to keep with you, at all times, A cell phone or two-way radio for communication whenever possible. There are times when these items will not work. You should have a whistle handy to alert others to your location in these situations. Blowing a whistle makes a lot of noisy rackets that will undoubtedly get the attention of someone in the area. Make sure a whistle is in your survival kit.
If these forms of signalling do not work, you must use visual signals to attract others to you. A strobe light can be a great way to get attention; even a flashlight can be used in an emergency. Flares and smoke signals can bring help to you quickly, and you can even try your hand at using a signal mirror.
The key to visual signals for help is located; select the site wisely. It can make the difference between survival and death.
Signalling is best when performed near your shelter in an area of clearing. Try an open field, lakeshore, or hilltop. The site must have high visibility for good results.
Indicate your distress by using the S.O.S. signal. This is internationally known to mean someone is in trouble and needs help. Signal this to others by creating three short signs, followed by three long signals, then three short signals.
Signal for help with mirrors or using rocks and logs during the day. Make the area visible by air and by ground. Spell out the word help, for instance, in a clearing with logs. If the search crew is flying overhead, this will certainly get their attention, bringing the help to you rapidly.
The search crew will be looking near the planned route for you. This is why it is important to stay near the planned area whenever possible. Venturing off looking for help may not be the best plan of action.
By night, your fire may be visible. Use a strobe light or flashlight to signal for help. If the three short and long signals are difficult, try signalling the same thing three times in a row. Repeat this step.
Make three fires in a row or triangle shape. This is another international signal for help. The smoke from the fire is visible for miles during the day and highly visible by night.
Being aware of distress signals and knowing how to use flares or mirrors can send help in your direction when you need it. Practice these outdoor survival skills before an emergency arrives to allow the best results in the event of a survival situation. Hand mirrors for signalling, for example, are Not the easiest gadgets to master. Pair up with a friend and see if the two of you can signal each other using the mirrors. This activity is fun and practices a survival skill, too.
Letting someone know you are in trouble is the best way to get help. Fire, flares, and S.O.S. signals are excellent ways to let others know you are in distress. Mirrors and other signalling techniques take practice. Try your hand at the skill before you are in a survival situation.