52

How I've practiced is I hold my left hand palm out, and I create a "V" between my ring and middle fingers with the plane or person between my fingers. I then hold the mirror by my face and shine the mirror between my fingers. You should see the light on your hand to confirm you are shining in the right direction.


26

I'd give them whatever my device or map provided me, and let them convert to whatever their devices or maps use. Anyone used to receiving lat/lon coordinates regularly should be able to convert from various formats to whatever they use internally. You're the one in trouble with limited resources. You're out there with a broken leg, lost, in the cold or ...


25

A modern (Korean War era and later, at least) signal mirror has a hole in the center, and the hole is surrounded by a grid of retroreflectors. You aim the mirror spot at something close by, then look through the hole. The grid makes a very bright spot where the mirror's reflection is going. You then simply tilt and rotate the mirror to put that spot on your ...


21

There are three criteria to be balanced in my thinking on the situation of when and if to activate a call for help to a rescue service: Do you have the skills and training to extract yourself safely from the current situation? Equally important is your assessment of what other means of communications are likely to be available in the timeframe your current ...


21

If you're not using the device to find your way, it is useless as far as the GPS functionality is concerned, no matter whether it's switched on or off. If I know they are looking for me, would they pick up the signal, if I switch it on for short periods every now and again? What signal? The GPS signal is sent by satellites, GPS devices receive this ...


19

This answer applies only to signal mirrors which are two-sided and have an aiming hole in the middle, which should be the case with any good signal mirror. My answer will partially duplicate a prior, but will add some rough pictures and also give a description of the geometry behind how it works. The process Stand facing roughly half-way between the sun ...


18

There is a great Mountain Rescue in Poland, called GOPR ("Górskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe" - "Mountain Volunteer Search and Rescue"). They cover all the mountain regions of Poland and in case of emergency you can reach them calling free rescue number: +48 601100300. There is even a smartphone app you can use to call help called "Ratunek" (https://play....


18

Charles Brumbaugh's answer is correct if a helicopter rescue is underway and you need to warn an approaching helicopter that it should abort the approach due to some problem you have spotted. (From Charles's second linked document: "Should the helicopter move in close before you are ready, or you see a problem, face the helicopter, cross and uncross your ...


15

Your signal mirror is likely polished on both sides, with a hole in the middle to help you aim it. Although the principle is simple, it's fiddly and takes a little practice. With the mirror in roughly the right position, arrange for its shadow to fall somewhere suitable (e.g. flat rock) so you can see the central spot of light. Now, line up the hole with ...


15

I think that list is talking about immediate priorities, that is, what you must focus on first to stay alive in a survival situation, not whether food is necessary. From Backcountry Chronicles, the article Wilderness Survival Rules of 3 – Air, Shelter, Water and Food lists four of the rules like this Survival Rule of 3 and Survival Priorities For ...


14

I would recommend UTM coordinates; it avoids the formatting uncertainty of lat/long and is better suited for ground operations. (Easy to translate to paper maps, define search areas, and calculate distances.) If you use the WGS84 datum, the numerical portions are also identical with the military grid reference system (MGRS) and the national grid (USNG). ...


13

This seems unlikely—simply facing something orange to the sky doesn't get automatically detected as a request for assistance. In general, if someone isn't searching for you, no one is going to be looking to see it in the first place. A space blanket might be useful in that sense if you've already called for help somehow, or been missing long enough someone ...


13

Taking each one in turn: If the trailhead is several hours away you're not feasibly going to be able to get there on your own with broken bones, and may seriously injure yourself further doing so. Several hours away normally could turn into a lot longer if you're bitten by a rattlesnake, and again by attempting the hike rather than resting you're going to ...


11

All of your situations look like emergencies, especially if you are alone. I read an article where the National Park Service was angry at use of PLBs because someone climbed a mountain and did not want to down-climb, or they were "tired" but seemed to not have nay other condition that would negatively affect their ability to walk out of the wilderness, or ...


10

Use the GPS to determine your position and then text or email that to your rescuers. That will be the end of the GPS's contribution to the rescue process. Staying put is generally best (saves your energy and ensures you don't move into an area they have searched and think you are not in) but that place should be safe and you should be discoverable in it. ...


10

For search party purposes, bigger is almost always better, both from the perspective of the lost individual - he/she may be able to see the light from a distance and make themselves more visible or move towards the light, and from the searcher trying to see their target, perhaps an unconscious individual - spotting clothing or non-natural material is much ...


9

Looks like a bit of Googling found the answer I was after... I'm not 100% sure this is definative, but it does suggest that search and rescue is free. http://www.vagabondjourney.com/travelogue/iceland-search-and-rescue/ Can anyone else confirm this?


9

Here is how I would evaluate it. Are there any immediate life threats? Are you unable to safely move yourself to a place where you can be rescued, faster than help would arrive with a PLB activation? Are you unable to manage or stop the life threats on your own? If the answer to those questions is yes, then I would activate the PLB. I would define "life ...


9

International standard and very easy to remember is the Y or N signal. If you want to communicate more than that, your signals should be easy and self-explaining. If you are e.g. climbing and it's not that obvious who needs help you could also inform the rescue team in the helicopter by pointing to the casualty after signaling Y.


8

The PLB is very much for highlighting to the emergency services that you are in an emergency situation and need a rescue. It can incur significant costs as the services are called out but gives a fairly accurate location so the search is short. One of your challenges here is that you may not know it is you they are looking for. Potentially the helicopters ...


8

Always have a water proof map of the area you're traveling in ( one with coordinates on each side if you can help it ), and a compass you can use to triangulate your position with. You'll be better prepared in an emergency and more confident outdoors in general if you practice triangulating your position until it comes naturally: http://www.rei.com/learn/...


8

From this article which is pulling statistics from *"Dead Men Walking: Search and Rescue in U.S. National Parks", Wilderness & Environmental Medicine (Volume 20, Number 3), 2009. Estimated number of SAR missions in US each year: 50,000 Percent of SAR operations aiding lost individuals: 36% Percent of SAR operations in national parks to find ...


8

There used to be an article on the homepage of the Austrian mountain rescue service concerning behaviour during helicopter rescues, originally published in Berg und Steigen 3/02 (a professional periodical on mountaineering safety, but in German). This article was written by actual rescue helicopter crew and contains a section about helping in the search ...


7

The purpose of the plan is to help rescuers find you. So include: your planned route - this could just be a photocopy of a map with a route drawn on in marker, or "the blah blah trail". identifying details. When we go into the Algonquin backcountry by canoe, the permit station asks for the colours of our tents and canoes. if you are carrying any kind of ...


7

It looks like it was most commonly proposed in the 1980s to around 1994 and has since been brought up at different times by different people but was never implemented. Here are the results I found and the dates, and I only quoted the ones that don't require typing out the passages by hand. 1983 1984 1984 1985 Nash argues for the designation of "norescue ...


7

is there any evidence to suggest that de-prioritizing food increases survival Anyone who has ever prioritized food and died of any of the other issues would be evidence that de-prioritizing food would have increased survival. If someone spends a couple days setting traps, snares, and fishing lines only to realize they still don't know how to get fresh ...


6

A PLB should be activated when search and rescue is required for an emergency with the danger of serious injury or loss of life, and when other emergency response methods are not available.


6

If you are overdue, and the search party know you have a PLB, the fact that they have not received an alert from it suggests either you are merely delayed, and will turn up soon, or you are so incapacitated that you could not use the beacon (probably already dead - sorry!) However, if you activate the PLB, the level of concern will likely increase - you've ...


6

To expand on an earlier answer, and what the OP himself mentions, I will add a few more elements. First, the count of persons on the trip. The rescuers need to know when they are done. If they've found four people and five went on the trip, for example, that means they keep searching. Add notes of any relevant medical information about each person, such ...


6

The sun isn't a laser, so you don't actually have to be very accurate. The further away your target is, the less accurate you have to be as the reflection will spread.


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