Drawing: Cobra helicopter Drawing: Cobra helicopter
Chapter 19 - Page 1


Signaling Techniques gif

One of your first concerns when you find yourself in a survival situation is to communicate with your friends or allies. Generally, communication is the giving and receiving of information. As a survivor, you must get your rescuer's attention first, and second, send a message your rescuer understands. Some attention-getters are man-made geometric patterns such as straight lines, circles, triangles, or X's displayed in uninhabited areas; a large fire or flash of light; a large, bright object moving slowly; or contrast, whether from color or shadows. The type of signal used will depend on your environment and the enemy situation.


If in a noncombat situation, you need to find the largest available clear and flat area on the highest possible terrain. Use as obvious a signal as you can create. On the other hand, you will have to be more discreet in combat situations. You do not want to signal and attract the enemy. Pick an area that is visible from the air, but ensure there are hiding places nearby. Try to have a hill or other object between the signal site and the enemy to mask your signal from the enemy. Perform a thorough reconnaissance of the area to ensure there are no enemy forces nearby.

Whatever signaling technique or device you plan to use, know how to use it and be ready to put it into operation on short notice. If possible, avoid using signals or signaling techniques that can physically endanger you. Keep in mind that signals to your friends may alert the enemy of your presence and location. Before signaling, carefully weigh your rescue chances by friends against the danger of capture by the enemy.

A radio is probably the surest and quickest way to let others know where you are and to let you receive their messages. Become familiar with the radios in your unit. Learn how to operate them and how to send and receive messages.

You will find descriptions of other signaling techniques, devices, and articles you can use. Learn how to use them. Think of ways in which you can adapt or change them for different environments. Practice using these signaling techniques, devices, and articles before you need them. Planned, prearranged signaling techniques may improve your chance of rescue.


There are two main ways to get attention or to communicate—visual and audio. The means you use will depend on your situation and the material you have available. Whatever the means, always have visual and audio signals ready for use.

Visual Signals

These signals are materials or equipment you use to make your presence known to rescuers.


During darkness, fire is the most effective visual means for signaling. Build three fires in a triangle (the international distress signal) or in a straight line with about 25 meters between the fires. Build them as soon as time and the situation permit and protect them until you need them. If you are alone, maintaining three fires may be difficult. If so, maintain one signal fire.

When constructing signal fires, consider your geographic location. If in a jungle, find a natural clearing or the edge of a stream where you can build fires that the jungle foliage will not hide. You may even have to clear an area. If in a snow-covered area, you may have to clear the ground of snow or make a platform on which to build the fire so that melting snow will not extinguish it.

A burning tree (tree torch) is another way to attract attention (Figure 19-1). You can set pitch-bearing trees afire, even when green. You can get other types of trees to burn by placing dry wood in the lower branches and igniting it so that the flames flare up and ignite the foliage. Before the primary tree is consumed, cut and add more small green trees to the fire to produce more smoke. Always select an isolated tree so that you do not start a forest fire and endanger yourself.

Drawing: Figure 19-1. Tree torch.

Page: 1  2  3  4  5 Next Page >>

Back to The Home Page Bact To The Survival Table Of Content Your Free E-Mail Log In Page

Web Aircav.com
Updated: 12 January 2008
Born on 14 December 1999