Signaling for help / marking your location - whats your gear or technique?

Discussion in 'Survival and Wilderness Skills' started by Bushman5, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    @RocketmanDane 's thread (Can YOU spot the injured hunter?) , and a recent conversation I had with local SAR-TECH (@Reno Lewis ) got me thinking about all the ways possible to be spotted or rescued

    Post up your signaling gear pics, and other methods you are aware of, or have been taught or have had to use!

    pics up in a bit

    --------------------------------

    my personal kit consists of:

    - Military IR/Blue/White Strobe with backup batteries (on the shoulder strap of my Load Bearing Rig)
    - Neon Orange/PINK signal panel (packed size is slightly bigger than a Zippo....easy to stash one in every pack and jacket pocket)
    - Multimode 1100 lumen flashlight (Strobe, SOS, Location Beacon, 1000 lumen light)
    - Multimode 1000 lumen headlamp (as above)
    - 3 CEJAY Engineering SERE LED glo-stick (2 white, 1 red) all on individual long braided fishing line lanyards to spin them overhead and create a huge glowing circle
    - Fox 40 whistle
    - ACR signal mirror
    - neon orange flagging tape
    - bear bangers / flares / launcher
    - Enola Gay Orange smoke bomb (30,000 cubic feet) (these are Airsoft smokes and quite tiny and easy to pack, and dirt cheap. Store in heavy duty freezer bag or dip in wax )

    ^ all those sound like a lot but they take up very little space and some are MULTI-USE

    - i sometimes carry a Motorola family class radio
    - I sometimes carry a UNIDEN UHF/VHF/AIR/AM/FM/AM portable radio
    - sometimes i wear my blaze orange Forestry Vest, which can be set up as a full on survival/hike rig - depends where i am


    Other methods I practice: (usually under tree canopy cover to prevent a false alarm)

    - stomping signal signs into snow and lining with green boughs (creates deep shadow that is easy to see from air) or drink crystal mix (dyes the snow bright neon)
    - digging sand troughs on beaches to make ground to air signals (usually i just dig a big HELLO to avoid false alarms)
    - smoke signal fires
    - 3 signal fires of fatwood and dry firewood, spaced 10 meters apart (i have built this once, but did not light it, it was just practice)
    - I am learning all the aviation ground to air hand signals
    - Bike pump rechargeable air horn in the 4x4 (too unwieldy to carry)
    - well versed with logging cutblock air horn signals
    - very well versed in leaving Blaze Marks on trees to indicate direction of travel.

    some pics: not everything is shown....missing the bear banger / flares / launcher, and the smoke grenade got used for fun in buddies apartment party


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    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
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  2. Sam

    Sam Member

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    406 Mhz Cospas Sarsat PLB.
    In the woods on the water alot. If I get in trouble and need help I have no time for fooling around.
    406 Plb's take the S out of SAR.

    Went to sea for my living for years,now instructor in marine survival, rescue and firefighting at a nautical college. Electronics beats visual signals 99% or the time. Still carry a rocket parachute, hand flare and strobe.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
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  3. RocketmanDane

    RocketmanDane Member

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    Any recommendations on PLB?
     
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  4. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall ESEE Knives / Randall's Adventure & Training Staff Member

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    All of our folks carry these:

    Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 5.20.58 PM.png
     
  5. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall ESEE Knives / Randall's Adventure & Training Staff Member

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    With that said, we work a lot with various SAR teams and they rarely have callouts due to PLB notifications. I suppose most people don't carry them or forget them and leave them at home. I know there was a mission a while back that was due to a SPOT activation and the guy finally self-rescued and then failed to notify authorities he was ok. He thought that since no one came within minutes of activating the device that nothing happened. Guess he thought the activation button was magic and as soon as you hit it, helicopters immediately appeared overhead. So, if you decide to use one be sure you notify the authorities if you end up self-rescuing. Once that signal goes out a lot of resources go into play and to rescue yourself then not notify the authorities causes a lot of issues.
     
  6. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall ESEE Knives / Randall's Adventure & Training Staff Member

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    Also, here's a new one that's on the market. Very compact.

    Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 5.29.55 PM.png
     
  7. Sam

    Sam Member

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    Just cause they know where you are and are in distress does not mean you are going to get rescued. As Mr.Randell said it is not a magic button. In remote regions and harsh weather rescue may have to wait. It does take the search out of search and rescue. The PLB's work. I use or should I say carry an ACR resQlink. 406 with integral gps is what you want. No spots on Spot either. But it is not a "true "PLB.
     
  8. Sam

    Sam Member

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    Duplicate post sorry
     
  9. Sam

    Sam Member

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    It is 2018 and Armstrong was on the moon about 50 years ago but there are still times when we can't get people out of a liferaft or a lifeboat. Something to think about.
    Lost in true backcountry during an ice storm or blizzard with storm force winds you may have to tough it out for hours or days. Still got to go prepared. The plb button is not a magic carpet ride. They know who you are and where you are and thats something ......no matter where you are in this big sometimes brutal world
     
  10. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    A PLB is on my to buy list in the future. (It's a massive massive financial outlay for me.) The one Jeff and team carries is about $500 CDN up here.

    In the meantime though, I try to learn as many different possible ways of being seen if I need too.....

    One thing that gets attention here quickly, due to our massive forests, is smoke. Esp in the mountains. Pilots mark and investigate large smoke columns when they spot them, and often report them.

    An issue here with radios, sat phones, radio-telephones, cell phones and PLB's, Is the mountain valleys and deep forest cover often will NOT allow those devices to get a signal out or connect with satellites . Other areas of BC have weird magnetic interference, that renders Electronics useless.

    I agree a PLB is top tier. But also good to not rely on Electronics and have backup tried tested and true methods.

    A big frustration here in BC amongst SAR is the people that they look for, often only have a cell phone , no skills , no other signalling gear.

    Another method here of being located very quickly is to find a cell repeater tower (they are everywhere on the mountain peaks ) and trip the security alarms.

    I'd like to add a rescue laser to my arsenal as well.
     
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  11. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall ESEE Knives / Randall's Adventure & Training Staff Member

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    Something else to keep in mind is our state helicopters have FLIR and the state class we took the instructor said one of the best signaling devices he has found when they fly at night is the sparks from a ferro rod. So keep that in mind if you need rescuing and a helicopter flies over. He may have FLIR. Another thing is the light from your cell phone is better than nothing.
     
  12. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall ESEE Knives / Randall's Adventure & Training Staff Member

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    This. That's why everyone (including ground pounders for SAR) need basic survival skills. In fact, I rank basic survival skills as important (if not more) than most other SAR skills. Rescuers can easily become victims. We're teaching a survival class this fall for for a mountain SAR team and also teaching it during a week long advanced MSAR class we're helping teach in a couple of weeks. Students think they're coming for all the technical stuff but at night when they get through with the technical skills Patrick is will be putting them through survival skills.
     
  13. Sam

    Sam Member

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    Bushman you can pick up a 406 plb now in Canada for about 300 bucks anadian now. Mec has one for 300.00
     
  14. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    ah good to know. I was on the aviation gear sites.

    still a massive outlay. going to have to save up for a few months, possibly buy in the fall.
     
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  15. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall ESEE Knives / Randall's Adventure & Training Staff Member

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    Another thing is some SAR teams will wait until morning to do the rescue if it's not life and death. Many times they get the call and then set the resources in motion (such as sending someone out to act as radio relay in bad terrain) then move rescuers in the next morning. So, you may get a response to shelter in place until they can get to you under safer conditions. Bottom line is if you are going out, then carry signaling devices but also carry basic survival gear. Always.
     
  16. Neilsen

    Neilsen Member

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    I carried a Delorme Inreach. It was pricey per month for the subscription but gave me piece of mind when I had guests with me. Like Bushman5 said, it’s sometimes hard to get a satellite when your out in the mountains. For the most part it was nice to have, worked well especially when using the app on your smartphone.
     

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