Signaling for help remains such an undervalued practice, although it’s often your last resort when reaching a tipping point.

If executed properly, a distress signal might pull you out of any unpleasant situation that you may find yourself into.

Although there’s a bunch of modern signaling devices to choose from, a time might come when you are caught off guard.

In such cases it is vital that you know a thing or two about how the people of old used to make themselves noticed.

Whatever the case, I’m sure these tips and trick will come handy for everyone reading this. Here goes:

  1. Flagging Tape

I remember a time when I was wondering the forests alongside my dad. We would often venture so deep that we forgot the way we came. To not risk spending the night in the wild, we were wrapping toilet paper on branches close to the footway.

Times have changed now, and survey tape has become inexpensive and accessible to everybody.

It comes as a great addition to your survival kit. Just remember to pick the kind that breaks easily. Or simply carrying scissors with you should do the trick.

Vivid colors work best because you can see them from afar, and if you enhance them with a message using a permanent marker will make sure that you send a clear message to anyone encountering your tapes.

  1. Cellphone

This accounts as one of the greatest modern-day inventions due to its bundle of useful applications and, of course, applicability.

It’s true that catching signal on your phone in the wild is a requirement for sending a distress signal, but that shouldn’t necessarily be of concern. Why?

Because you can always send out an SMS and wait for a slight signal for it to be delivered. Just send a text message and roam around until you find a signal spike. Your message will then be sent automatically.

You can also climb or reach a spot at higher altitude that will boost your chances of catching signal.

Besides your usual smartphone, it’s wise to you carry along an old model phone with longer battery life and better durability to physical shocks. You never know what might happen along the way, so it’s just better to be prepared for worst case scenario

  1. Permanent markers

You already know the first use case to this item. It bears almost no weight to your load and can send explicit distress signals. Besides writing on survey tape, you can use a sharpie marker on mostly all dry surfaces.

It’s like leaving crumbs on the footpath for your rescuers to find them, only that the signals remain weatherproof. Feel free to write on trees with their bark peeled so that people can easily notice the markings asap.

  1. Manual flares

Needless to say how bright and vivid their lights can be. They’re also most useful when trying to start an emergency fire.

Together with the duct tape it can form one hell of a survival combo. Use the latter to glue the flare on a branch, or tie it to a treetop for extra visibility.

If help comes by air, light the top up or wave the branch for best visibility.

Remember to use the tape on a small area of the flare as possible. This way the flames will delay the ignition of the material.

Use caution when waving the branch with the flare attached!

  1. Mirror

This is probably the most overlooked item from a preppers signaling arsenal. Did you know that signals generated by this item can reach over several miles in the blink of an eye?

A range of up to 10 miles and a good handling of the object can project a flash of light on any distant object, be it airborne or traveling on water. The mirror is the absolute daytime rescuer.

All you need to master is the aim. Do this by purchasing a mirror with a sighting lens and practicing outside with your friends. Simply have them walk at a distance while you aim towards their face.

If everyone involved with this practice holds a mirror, you’ll realize on your own just how powerful this distress signal can be.

In case you haven’t included a sighting lens mirror in your bug out bag, and instead have a basic version, you can proceed like this: place the mirror just underneath your eye (pick your best one), stretch your arm and aim at your fingertip, then carefully place the highlighted finger below your target in the distance.

Now rotate the mirror slowly until you catch the target’s attention. Don’t forget that practice makes perfect!

These were the tips for today. My follow-up e-mail will contain new ways in which you can send distress signals in the nighttime.

Stay safe until next time, and don’t forget that preparedness is key. Combine it with practice to reach your full potential.

Jason Richards


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