Every prepper should know a thing or two about distress signals.
Although there’s an array of tools ready to alert the rescue party whenever the need arises, it’s essential to know a few things about generating distress signals when gearless.
If you’re looking for a lightweight and easy to use item for short-range audible signals, then the whistle is your best choice.
Not only can this item disclose your location from up to a couple of miles, but it will also ward you from dangerous predators in the woods.
You can either whistle randomly, or learn the universal signal for distress – three subsequent whistle blows.
Keep this item attached to your garb, keyrings or clips to avoid losing it. Pick vividly colored whistles for best visibility.
If you’re seeking help in a cold environment, it’s best that you carry with you a pea-less whistle. This prevents spit from freezing within the device and thus blocking the cork ball responsible for generating the pitch.
This item is particularly efficient when venturing outdoors with your kids. Children love whistle noise, and they feel comfortable carrying them while out in nature.
Another efficient signaling piece that’s been used by our ancestors ever since the invention of cloth.
Today, you can easily acquire flags from your local store or you can use your creativity and assemble your own.
Keeping it customized will surely attract the attention of whoever passes by.
If you’re in the wild and you have no flag available, you can improvise by using a vivid piece of clothing tied to a stick or the top of a tree.
Alternatively, you can use a poncho to create a larger flag. Tie it at both ends to create more volume from the wind blowing.
Enhance your distress signal using any reflective material at hand, or by writing a distress note using your permanent marker. This way your message will go through more clearly.
Additionally, you can use flags on the ground if there are no trees around. A poncho widespread on the soil will provide great visibility, and building an extra fire nearby will attract anyone’s attention.
- Flare Guns
Whether you’re in distress on land or sea, the flare gun offers a wide signaling area. Unlike hand flares where you need to struggle for best visibility, the flare gun provides extensive range and catches attention faster.
Wind can be your unsuspected enemy, that’s why you should fire only when the tides are still. Your main concern should be the arid vegetation nearby.
If the wildlife catches fire, not only you’ll attract the unwanted kind of attention, but you also put your life at risk and of others.
- Improvising sounds
So what happens when you’re out there without any piece of relevant equipment?
You probably think that you’ll never end up in distress so unprepared. But the thing is you don’t know what the next day will bring.
If you’re all alone out there in the wild, the best thing to do is keeping your cool and using your imagination. It’s often that people get out of trouble by using their imagination.
In that case, the best chance you have to be noticed by a search party is by producing a considerable amount of noise.
High-pitched sounds can be made by whistling using your fingers, or by improvising a whistle yourself.
You can do that by first finding the appropriate wood. It should be as soft as possible to be able to clear its interior. Then with a V-cut protrusion, you should be able to generate a high-pitched sound.
If you want to add more noise to your signal, it is useful to have a plastic bottle around. Instead of becoming exhausted by screaming, you can simply band on an empty plastic bottle, or just fill it with coins or pebbles and shake it repeatedly.
In case you have nothing of the above at hand, try clacking the logs you come across with a hard stick. The sound produced by log drums are known to reach over four miles if all conditions are met.
- Improvising visual signals
Imagination sets the limits here. Provided that you have a means to light a fire, you can build the perfect SOS signal on the ground. Use dry leaves and sticks to create the message in an open space where it can easily draw attention.
You can additionally light the SOS up whenever you spot an aircraft or boat.
It works good without the fire if you are drawing the sign using vivid colors. You can salvage some from the woods (use the contrast between dried foliage, bark, and green branches) or by tearing patches from dispensable clothing.
Remember that mostly everything you burn in the wild produces white smoke. Keep this in mind when trying to signal for help on a foggy or cloudy day. To give the smoke more contrast, you can add plastic materials, or anything petroleum-based.
I hope these tips will serve you well in any unpredictable situation you may find yourself into.