A distress signal is a message asking for help, sent using information, light, gestures and other incarnations from the victims. When you get into an extreme situation, you must find a way to salvation as soon as possible, and for this you need to give a noticeable sign so that other people will notice it from the air, land or water body. When it comes to survival, no matter where help comes from, the main thing is to give a clear sign that it is necessary, especially if a person needs medical help.
- Types of distress signals
- 2 Distress alerts using special tools
- 3How to give a distress call without the use of special tools.
- 4International distress codes
Types of distress signals
Depending on the method of filing, the means used, the focus on the object, there are the following types of distress signals:
- Light. This type of alert includes distress signals using objects that reflect light or illuminate the terrain.
- Signed: used for filing signs that will be seen by helicopter pilots with a significant decrease.
- Information: apply when you need to indicate the need to leave the site of a disaster (camp), indicating the direction.
- Visual on water: water-based colorants are used.
- Sonic: whistle, screams, gunshots, crackers.
- Radio signals using direction finders, mobile phones, radio stations.
Distress alerts using special tools
When planning a dangerous journey, in which there is a risk of disaster, you should always prepare an emergency set of special technical means in case of its occurrence. These include:
- Signal buoy
- Mirror (heliograph)
- Direction Finder or Radio Station
- Travel waterproof matches
- False lights
- Wand flashlight
If you have a radio station with you, it usually acts only on level ground. By signal rockets it is convenient to give a sign of distress in forests, mountains, as well as in poor visibility of certain weather conditions. An ordinary whistle helps to emit sound signals over a long distance, especially in terrain conditions with a scattering sound. A signal buoy and a marine marker will be needed when in contact with a disaster on the water. The marker clumps the water surface in a saturated green or orange color, which helps to notice the signal from above. A plastic stick flashlight illuminates the space for about 10 hours, but it will help you to notice yourself only at a short distance. A special mirror, heliograph, is used to reflect the sun’s rays. The brightness of the light sign with the reflection of the beam at 90 degrees reaches the visibility of rescuers from a helicopter flying at an altitude of 1-2 km from a distance of 20-25 km.
How to give a distress signal without the use of special tools
When hit in a disaster in the wild, there are not always objects at hand that are intended to give a direct signal for help. In such a situation, you need to know how to send a distress signal, using the materials at hand to create signs.
- Distress alerts with a mirror. When there is no heliograph on hand, you can use any object with a good reflective surface – ladies’ mirror, foil, tin can from the tin can, watches. This method is effective only in good weather. Reflecting the sun’s rays, you can submit intermittent sun glare or Morse code.
- Signal bonfires. The place to create a sign should be visible both from the ground and from the air, preferably in the field or on a hill, and not far from the camp of the victims. To attract attention, several bonfires are raised, which are located 30 or 50 meters from each other on one straight line or in the shape of a triangle. These figures are among the international distress signals. If the bonfires put the letter “T”, this place will mean a landing place for a helicopter or a plane. At night, you can use one fire made of dry wood, from time to time cover it with a piece of cloth or large branches, so that it seems to flicker. Such a fire is visible from a distance of 10 km from the ground and attracts more attention than one that is long burning.
- If there is no wind, smoke signals can be used. To do this, make a fire, where to throw raw wood or grass. In bad weather and in winter such smoke is hardly noticeable, therefore at this time it is better to add rubber, oil or plastic to the fire. This will give black smoke, which will be much more noticeable.
International distress codes
There are generally accepted signs of distress that are internationally understood. Knowing these signs, rescuers of any state, speaking in any language, will be able to understand them and help the victims. These include international gestural distress signals, as well as codes, which includes a table of distress signals. Signs should be clearly visible, and therefore, should be located on hills, glades. The dimensions of the signal symbols must be at least 10 meters long, 3 m wide, and the distance between the signs must be at least 3 meters. For laying out symbols, you can use everything that will be noticeable on the surface of the earth: clothes, life jackets, tents, and so on. They can also be dug out by removing the sod, which can be laid side by side, increasing the width of the characters. In winter, signs on snow can be laid out with fir branches. There is a special table of distress signals in which codes are decoded using graphic signs.
The most famous international distress signal is S.O.S. This code can be laid out by any noticeable improvised means on the ground, transmitted by Morse code and other frequency signals. In addition to it, the emergency international radio signal is “Mayday”, meaning “Help”, as well as orange smoke, an inverted flag of any state, a continuous sound signal.
For better perception, you can find international distress signals in pictures.