Sunday, July 21st, 2024

Signaling for Help / SOS


Take some time now to review how to signal for help if you ever find yourself without a radio/cell phone. There are universal visual signals that are easy to learn and execute should you ever need to.

Imagine what the people searching for you might do – they will most likely start from your last known location and follow your proposed route. Select a signal site in a clear area such as a hilltop or near water’s edge.

SOS (Save Our Souls) is known internationally as a distress signal. It can be transmitted via sight or sound. The audio code for SOS is three short, three long, three short. Pause, then repeat the pattern. You can make a visual representation for searchers to see from the air using whatever material you have such as wood or rocks. A signal mirror can also be used. If someone is searching for you, generally any signal repeated three times will be recognized as a distress signal. Another option is a whistle. Blow three short blasts, then wait three to five minutes and repeat three blasts.

Signal fires are simple to set up – build three fires in a triangle pattern (or a straight line). Leave about 100 feet between the fires so the pattern is clear from above.

Check out more signaling tips at

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