You can’t be rescued if no one can find you. In an emergency situation, the easier it is to locate you, the faster help will come. Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can signal for help that are recognized almost universally. Here are a few.
A signal mirror is a really good non-tech way of sending a signal over a large distance.
When aimed correctly, a mirror will brightly reflect a beam of light that’s visible up to 10 miles. The same can be used to create a flashing beam that can send more advanced messages or simply an SOS.
A whistle is a good tool to use for short-range signaling to let search parties know they are close. Three blows of a whistle is the universal signal for distress.
When choosing a whistle, try to go with a brightly colored or neon one with an equally bright lanyard or clip. The bright colors make it easier for you to find it in case of an accidental drop.
Also, if you are going to be needing it in a colder climate, get one without the traditional pea (little ball inside), so you don’t run the risk of your saliva freezing the ball in place and rendering the whistle useless until you can thaw it.
These handy tapes come in bright colors that are also very reflective, making them easy to see from a distance. You can use them to mark a trail, wrap up a makeshift flag, or even leave messages with a permanent marker.
They are light-weight and don’t take up a lot of room making them a good addition to your gear.
Not only can a handheld flare provide a signal of where you are, but it’s also a great backup method for starting a fire.
Most commonly used on water, a flare gun can be seen easily by bot aircraft overhead and search parties on the ground.
A word of caution about using them on land. Since many flares burn long enough to still be lit when they land, there is a risk of starting a fire in your immediate area. For best safety result, only use flare guns in wetland areas and on open water.
Probably the best tool in your arsenal for local emergencies. If you have a signal, you can easily use it to call for help and even get an idea of where you are located. If the signal is weaker, you should still be able to text message since texts don’t need the same signal strength that calls do.
Suggested Article: 3 Great Strategies to Signal for Help
Used long before the improvement of cell phone coverage, satellite phones let you make calls from anywhere on the planet, as long as they are charged.
Personal Locator Beacon
These handy little gadgets are now widely available. They are detectable via satellite and can be engaged easily if you run into trouble. Essentially, they are a wilderness version of a “panic button” that can be used by anyone. The basic models are sort of a cross between and satellite phone and a beeper. They merely sent out distress alerts to a monitoring company who can forward your location to emergency services.
The more advanced versions are more like a combo satellite phone and an old mobile phone that let you send texts and even emails via satellite.
You Don’t Have to Choose Just One
In fact, it’s better if you don’t. Many of these low-tech options can easily be carried in a basic survival kit, so it’s not going to hurt to have them all. For the more hi-tech options, do some research about the area you’re going into and see what version and monitoring companies cover that area. That will make choosing one a little bit easier.