How many effective ways can we signal for help? We will describe the following ways:


  • visual
  • sound
    • whistles & horns
    • percussion
    • electronic

  • ground to air emergency code
  • Morse Code
  • Semaphore flag signaling

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CD Signal Mirror In Emergency

The trick to using a mirror for signaling is to reflect light from the sun onto the tip of your finger, and while tracking your finger tip, position your finger tip on the target that you wish to signal. The advantage of the CD is that you can look through the center hole and monitor your mirror positioning… similar to sites on a gun. You can practice this method by targeting reflective signs like road signs and license plates. They light up when you align the CD correctly, thus giving you positive feedback on your aim.


Light Sticks For Signaling

Light Sticks are called many different things, often by brand names such as Cyalume, Snaplight, GlowSticks, etc., but the standard 6″ industrial grade stick is what we’re interested in for signaling. They come in different colors and increments of light duration time, typically 12 & 8 hours (general use), and 30 & 5 minutes (emergency signal). The shorter the duration, the brighter the light. The 30 and 5 minute light sticks can be plainly visible from a distance of 1 mile. Essentially, when holding the stick, making large motions are the most effective, and by attaching the lanyard and swinging the light stick in a large circle, you will produce the most visible display for attracting attention. See “Light Sticks For Signaling” for more details.

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One thought on “Signals

  1. Even better than CD/DVDs are Hard drive platters. They are a little smaller than CD/DVDs and much more sturdy and have a better mirrored surface. They have the same hole in the middle for tracking. I use dark duct tape on one side in my hiking kit that has duplicate purpose in that it keeps you from getting accidentally blinded and a place to store a little bit of duct tape that can be peeled off for later use.

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