Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Personal Survival Kit - Part Three - Using Sound to Create Emergency Signals

One of the main components for creating an emergency signal is sound.  Certain sounds will get someone’s attention a lot quicker than others. Unfortunately, the range and types of sounds which we can hear and process are quite limited. Otherwise, professional speakers wouldn’t need to use special equipment in order to make sure that everyone in their audience can hear them.

Why is sound so effective when being used to create an emergency signal? It is due to our startle reflex. Loud noises can startle people and whenever we hear a loud noise there will be an automatic response by our bodies that causes us to blink our eyes. This is a normal response by our bodies to what may be a possible danger or threat. This is due to the fact that our eyes are one of the most vulnerable parts of our bodies and require more protection from a possible injury. Our bodies automatically work to protect our eyes because they are so vulnerable. This is one of the main reasons that sounds can be so effective when creating an emergency signal. It creates an automatic response by anyone within range of the sound you are making, especially if it’s a loud one.

When using sound to create an emergency signal, the whistle is one of the best devices and probably the easiest to use for this purpose. They are available in small, compact varieties that will easily fit into a personal survival kit. My personal preference is the flat style boat whistles which take up less space and are not so bulky if carried on a lanyard around your neck. The small metal whistles that are the "pea-less" variety are also great little whistles as well. Many can be carried easily around your neck on a lanyard, attached to your hiking stick or simply placed in your pocket. You can even get whistles that include things like a button compass and a thermometer. Although they are somewhat less compact than a regular whistle this can make your whistle a multi-use item.

Another important thing to remember is that you should always use a combination of threes when making an emergency signal with sound. A series of three short blasts from your whistle is normally the best way to signal for help. It will also help to conserve energy and require less effort if you are having breathing difficulties by allowing you to pace yourself and avoid hyperventilating. A series of three items is a universal sign of distress and it will also allow your location to be more easily determined if someone has their attention focused on the sound you are making. If possible a loud continuous sound will also be effective. Banging on an object to create a continuous noise at a steady pace may also help to get someone’s attention.

On many of the camping and hiking trips with my family over the years, everyone wore a whistle on a lanyard on their neck. Always and at all times!  If we got separated or temporarily lost sight of each other, everyone knew that three short blasts from their whistle would bring everyone to their location very quickly.

Even though a whistle in its simplest form is not a multi-use item, it should be considered an essential item for any Personal Survival Kit (PSK).

Got sounds for survival?


1 comment:

millenniumfly said...

People should also learn to keep this in their home survival kits to better effect a rescue should the need ever arise.

Related Posts with Thumbnails