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Guide to Signaling for Help in the Wild

Are you an outdoors man or woman who wants to keep safety in mind? Here your guide to signaling for help when you are in the great outdoors.

What would you do if you got lost in the woods?

It’s not a thought that commonly goes through people’s heads. Most hikers and campers feel confident in not getting lost. “I know I could never get lost,” they might say.

However, it’s a lot easier to get lost than you think — in New York alone, over 200 people find themselves lost in the woods every year.

So now you’re terrified. What are you supposed to do if you’re lost? Do you think you’d hyperventilate, or run around like crazy, shouting at the top of your lungs? Would you become just another number?

First of all, slow down. If you’re reading this, you’re not lost yet. Fortunately, there are things you can do to increase your chances of being found, and one of those things is signaling.

Don’t know how to call for help when you’re lost?

Gather ’round and let’s talk about your guide to signaling for help in the wild.

How Does Signaling For Help Work?

In this guide, we’re going to go over three primary methods to create distress signals.

  1. Audio signals (based on sounds)
  2. Visual signals (things that show location or distress)
  3. Tools for signaling (specific items that help you)

Ready? Let’s get into it.

Audio Signals: Calling for Help

The first way to signal is by using audio signals. This obviously includes yelling “Help” as loudly as you can, but there are some inventive ways you can do this as well.

  • Carry a whistle with you so that you can blow the SOS signal
    (three short, three long, three short, pause, repeat)
  • Bring an air horn
  • When all else fails, work your vocal chords and yell

If you’re stranded in an area where people may not be nearby, there are visual strategies as well.

Visual Signals: Building and Leaving Signs

Ever watch a film where someone builds a “HELP” sign out of rocks on a desert island? Here, you can learn a few ways to do just that, signal for help visually.

  • Learn to create a fire to use as an SOS signal — three fires in a triangle is a well-known distress symbol
  • Use a mirror to reflect light upwards
  • Leave “SOS” or “HELP” signs on trees using cloth

Tools for Surviving and Signaling

Lastly, there are some tools you can keep with you (either on you or in a DIY survival kit) to signal.

Now you have a better idea of what tools to use when signaling for help in the wilderness.

Still lost?

Let Us Guide You

We are a wilderness information service providing you tons of survival guides and content.

Want to know what you should bring on your backpacking trip? Maybe you just want to be better prepared in an emergency.We have information that can help you figure out your survival plans so that you don’t panic when it matters.


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