Questions tagged [search-and-rescue]

Questions about search and rescue

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32
votes
6answers
7k views

How bad do circumstances need to be before activating a PLB?

Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) can be carried during outdoor activities to use in case of an emergency. But are there any guidelines on what exactly constitutes an "emergency"? For example, what ...
31
votes
5answers
5k views

How do you aim a signal mirror?

Say you are in the middle of a desert where there is lots of sunshine, and you are trying to signal for help with a signal mirror. Either in the distance there is a person, or there is an airplane ...
21
votes
7answers
7k views

What format should I use to report my location to emergency responders?

Suppose I am out in the wilderness and an emergency arises. I have an accurate fix on my location (from GPS, map and compass, astronomical observation, etc...). I manage to get in touch with ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

How bright a flashlight would I realistically need for searching through terrain?

Modern flashlights have brightness up to several thousand lumens which is great. However it's not clear how bright a flashlight I might realistically need. Suppose I want to go on a search party such ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

How do you wave off a search and rescue helicopter?

We were out on a night hike. A helicopter showed up, by behavior it was search and rescue, looking not too far away from our group. It might have simply been doing training, but if it was a real ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

How often are missing people found?

Sometimes, people go into nature and go missing. A big search party is set up but they may be never found again. A morbid version of “leave no trace”. We probably all know examples: Joe Keller, ...
11
votes
2answers
260 views

Search and rescue costs in Iceland?

I'm about to take part in a Ski Tour across Iceland in a few weeks time, I've just noticed by travel insurance doesn't include Search & Rescue costs, here in the UK mountain search and rescue is ...
10
votes
5answers
789 views

Optimal use of available GPS devices when stranded

There are quite a lot of questions concerning GPS device usage, however I couldn't find any specific information on more passive usage (as in waiting for rescue). Say I have a watch and a phone which ...
10
votes
1answer
431 views

Do I need to worry about inadvertently creating a distress signal while using a space tarp?

If I use a space tarp (basically a heavy-duty reusable space blanket) as a sunshade or as a ground tarp with the shiny side facing up, do I need to worry that someone might see it and think that I am ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

Transition to “Starvation Mode” in Survival Situations

The textbook "Fundamentals of Search and Rescue" in Chapter 6 describes the priorities of needs in survival situations. The priorities listed are Air Shelter Rest Signals/Communication Water Food ...
9
votes
3answers
460 views

To activate PLB if you know search and rescure are looking for you but there is no emergency?

If you are held back a few days by bad weather or some other unforeseen natural circumstance and you know emergency services are looking for you because you can hear the helicopters but you know you ...
8
votes
1answer
493 views

Is there a Polish mountain rescue organisation?

I was talking to a friend on my lunch today about visiting the Tatra mountains in Poland and he said that an issue was the lack of mountain rescue if you get into trouble. Is this true, there is no ...
8
votes
2answers
847 views

What should go in the hiking/backpacking plan that you leave with someone else? [duplicate]

It is good practice on a hiking or backpacking trip to leave a written plan behind with someone. Then if you fail to return by your estimated date Search and Rescue will have an idea of where to look ...
8
votes
2answers
200 views

Are there standardized signals to communicate with aircraft?

Suppose one is in distress in the wilderness, and is being searched for by planes or helicopters because they thoughtfully told their friends where they were going and when they'd be back. Alternately,...
7
votes
3answers
399 views

How do I make and test a radar-reflecting hat?

At significant risk of tin foil hat jokes, I’ve read compelling evidence that a homemade hat incorporating angled and crumpled aluminum foil may slightly increase a kayaker’s visibility on radar — not ...
6
votes
2answers
482 views

What ever happened to the proposals for no-rescue zones for backpackers?

Decades ago, there was a proposal that there should be no-rescue zones for backpackers, in which backpackers would be entirely on their own, and rescue by government agencies would not be permitted. (...
6
votes
1answer
151 views

Searching for a lost group member

Following on from this question, what searching methods and techniques are best used in scenarios where a single group member (or perhaps couple of group members) become lost and separated from a ...
5
votes
2answers
102 views

Do rescue services use avalanche transceivers in the UK?

If mountain rescue teams in the UK were searching for a walker or climbing caught in an avalanche, would they start with a transceiver search? given that transceivers are infrequently carried by ...
-3
votes
4answers
223 views

Why isn't carrying a satellite phone considered best practice for hiking/mountaineering in remote regions?

Every year we read stories about people getting lost in a forest or in the mountains, with no way of calling for help. Sometimes this is due to a lack of experience, sometimes due to accidents, ...