Three mariners from the Micronesian island of Pulap were traveling on a small boat that ran out of fuel and drifted off course near the islands of Micronesia.
When the three men were reported missing, the American military dispatched aircraft from Guam to search. Australian authorities also assisted in the search.
One of the U.S. planes was finishing its patrol when crew members saw the letters S.O.S. in the sand, and a blue-and-white boat nearby.
The U.S. plane was ending its search for the day when the pilot turned away from the search area to avoid rain showers.
“That’s when we looked down and saw an island, so we decide to check it out and that’s when we saw SOS and a boat right next to it on the beach,” he said.
The men were stranded on the tiny island 118 miles from their departure point.
An Australian helicopter later delivered food and water to the men while they waited for a Micronesian ship to pick them up.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard…
“Through coordination with multiple response organizations, we were able to save three members of our community and bring them back home to their families.”
Now, there are many different instances where you might find yourself stranded.
Examples include car trouble, bad weather, or if you find yourself lost.
In most cases, the go-to distress signal is to grab your cell phone and call for help.
But cell phones run out of battery or can be out of the service area. Plus, during a disaster, government authorities might not be able to rescue you.
This is why having some sort of way to signal for help in your bug out bag could be a life-saver.
And I don’t mean just a mirror or whistle.
These items can work, but there are better options that can reach further when you’re trying to signal people for help.
Signaling devices come in a variety of sizes and uses. The amount of space you have, and the environment will dictate which signal device is the best.
Remember: The best signaling device is the one that fits your needs.
So, here are a few signaling devices that don’t take up too much space in your bug out bag or survival gear, and are worth considering.
Orion Signal Flare:
This is one of the least expensive signal options.
The flare can be seen up to a mile away and has a duration of about five minutes.
Another thing about the Orion flares is that there is no shelf life, and this is an item you can put in your gear and not worry about checking the expiration date.
The drawback to the flare is that it burns at 2,000 degrees. Plus, it drips while it burns, so you want to be careful where you put it.
Another good thing about the Orion flares is that they can be used as a fire starter.
A two-pack of Orion flares sells for $5, so you can’t beat the price.
Greatland laser rescue flare:
The Greatland laser flare has a range of 30 miles, and a battery life of about five hours.
Most signaling devices have some sort of flame, but the Greatland laser rescue flare doesn’t. So, you don’t have to worry about it catching anything on fire.
The laser comes in red or green color. The advantage of the laser flares is that they’re compact, lightweight, and won’t fail in bad weather.
Here’s an important side note: Normally, it is against federal law to point a laser at aircraft. But there is an exception to this law when it is used as a distress signal.
A laser is a great way to get somebody’s attention.
The only drawback to a laser flare is that some people might not recognize it as a call for help.
The Greatland laser flare ranges in price from $100 to $225.
Frankensled Pocket Flare Kit:
This pocket flare has an effective range of three miles.
The kit includes bear bangers, three signal flares, and a pen-style launcher. It all comes in a waterproof case fitted with a belt clip and a small carabiner.
The flare screws into a pen launcher. Simply pull back the slide trigger and let it spring forward.
It lets off a bang and sends the flare into the air. The red ball burns at more than 15,000 candlepower, at a height of over 150 feet, for about seven seconds.
When space is a big concern, this is the ideal signaling device.
It’s small and lightweight, yet effective.
The pocket flare signal kit sells for $65.
Keep in mind that the point of a signal flare is to alert someone that you believe is nearby, you don’t just send up the flare and hope someone sees it.
You want to use it to grab the attention of a vehicle, aircraft, or boat.
Also, you should be in an open area on high ground. This will give you the best chance of being seen.
When you decide which signaling device is the best for you, test it out.
Make sure you know how to use it since you might have a small window to alert a passing plane.