Signaling devices to get you rescued

Signaling devices to get you rescued

Whether you find yourself lost outdoors, trapped in a lift or stranded with your vehicle, you need to attract the attention of others to help you. Here are Signaling devices to get you rescued.

Shouting is the least effective means of making your location conspicuous and attracting rescuers. Rather, remain calm and use the acronym STOP.

  • S = stop. Do not exacerbate the situation but stay put and sit down.
  • T = think. Retrace your route in your mind. Make a note of any useful kit you are carrying. Consider how you arrived in this situation.
  • O = observe. What landmarks can you identify? Are your footprints visible? Can you hear noises that might help with confirming your location?
  • P = plan. Knowing what you know, what plan will you make to get rescued? Either you must self- rescue or signal for help from other people.

6 really effective signaling devices

  • 1. 3 or 6 is the magic number. Three or six of anything is universally recognised as a distress signal. Use a whistle, gun, torch, smoke or flags to attract attention. The response will be 3 blasts of a whistle, gunshots or torch flashes.
  • 2. Use S.O.S. in Morse code. Simply send a S.O.S. signal using any of the above devices to make three short dots (S) and three long dash(O) repeated by three dots. Repeat every minute, as possible.
  • 3. Use ground signals to communicate with a plane. Dig symbols into the ground or lay down branches to indicate a medical emergency, need for food, indication of travel or place to land.
  • 4. Create a Catherine Wheel by tying a chemical lightstick to a length of cord. Twirl the cord over your head or in front of you and create a circle of light visible for several kilometers.
  • 5. Carry a Skystreme inflatable foil kite. With its lightweight and reflective material, the kite can reach 50 metres in height yet is small when packed. Like all good survival tools, it can be repurposed as an emergency medical splint, filled for use as a water carrier or inflated and used inside your clothing for added warmth.
  • 6. Set up 3 signal fires, equally separated from each other. Build them in the open or on high ground. When rescuers might be nearby, start the fires and add damp wood, damp grass or spare tires to generate smoke for visibility in daylight. At night use drier wood and more fuel.

Your strategy when lost or stranded is to advertise your location. The more signaling devices you can use, the better. Adapt your use of emergency signals to your environment and create contrasts that will stand out and attract others.

Attend one of our courses to learn and practice with several emergency signaling devices. Sometimes a whistle and torch might be enough but the true survivor joins our courses to understand how the latest technology can assist. We show him or her how to signal for success, wherever you might need to be rescued.

Find out more about how Zero Foundation Africa, can work with you.