• signaling for help

How to Signal for Help If You Are Lost

Would you know how to signal for help if you found yourself in a survival situation? Each year, thousands get lost in dense forests or while hiking in different terrains. These tips can save your life if you need help.

The two best ways to signal something from a distance is with fire or something that reflects.


If you are trying to do something with fire and rescuers can clearly see the fire, then your chances of being located are good. If a rescuers visibility is obstructed, you’ll want lots of smoke so you can be seen.  To do that, use wet material, such as leaves, add them to your fire, being careful to not smother it.

Reflective Object

If you have something reflective like a piece of metal, perhaps the polished bottom of a soda can or mirror, reflect the sun to your finger.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Put your index and middle finger in front of the reflection of light and keep moving the metal back and forth until you see that you are hitting your fingers with the reflection.
  2. Separate your fingers and keep the rescuers in the space between your fingers. You will see the reflection on your fingers and know that it is being sent to the image in the “V” of your fingers.
  3. Turn your body and your location so that the reflection is over the plane or the boat that you are trying to signal. At that point begin to do the SOS strokes that will signal your need for help.

Remember even simple flashes of three in a row and then pause and then three in a row again will draw anybody’s attention without requiring any knowledge of SOS. In open areas you can also put 3 large rocks or logs to signal your need for help.

We teach these and other life-saving skills in our Survival Class. 

Our Omega certified instructors teach you to constantly train and reinforce your learning with hands-on activity so that reactions become second nature.

By |December 17th, 2015|Categories: Survival Basics|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Jeremy January 3, 2016 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    One thing I would like to add to this signaling post is, if you are ever stuck in a broken down car in the middle of nowhere, don’t be afraid to rip the mirror off your windshield and use it to signal for help. The sun, reflected off your cars rearview mirror, can be seen from over 5 miles away.

    Omega Ranch Survival Instructor.

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