53

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

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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. ...


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.


9

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

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

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

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's impossible to give a clear answer to this. There are a few factors to consider: Who is "lost"? You may be able to find data on the number of people who are called in as missing, and where some sort of search mission is sent out to rescue them. However, not all of those people were ever at any danger of disappearing. Some may have wandered a bit off ...


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 ...


7

There is one thing to bear in mind about making safety equipment mandatory and that is the effect of risk compensation. Basically it means whenever you make something safer, a certain group of people tends to use the perceived gain in safety to take additional risk. Often the additional risk may be bigger than the safety gain introduced by the equipment and ...


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.


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

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

You can take a satellite phone if you want. But you can also decide to take the risk to go without one. Satellite phones cannot prevent all kinds of accidents, just like any technical equipment cannot achieve that either. If you want to make sure that nobody gets hurt or even takes the risk of being hurt you would have to prohibit life in general. People ...


5

In the marine environment, it's often a little easier if you reference a known location. Offshore, you want to use lat/lon coordinates for sure. But if you're a mile from the coast (or less), it's a lot easier for people to find you if you say "We're a hundred yards south of buoy three, looking at the hotel with the red roof." I worked for a water rescue ...


5

I'd think that it will depend very much on what you search for: do you expect the person to respond, e.g. put up whatever scrap of reflective material they have with them when they see your search-light? In that case, and open landscape a highly brilliant lamp would be good: you could sweep a large space slowly with such a light and look for reflections. E....


5

There are lots of good reasons to reject such proposals, and these would have stopped them being implemented. Some examples: Deliberate injury - would the emergency services attend if someone was assaulted? If so, claim assault and you're rescued; if not, all sorts of things could go wrong, from illegal prize fights to murder. Even hunting negligence ...


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