Top Ways to Signal For Help


In the event of an emergency, the quickest way to get help is to ask a neighbor, a passer-by, or someone nearby for assistance. Another is to dial 911 or call someone and relay your emergency. In some cases, however, these two options are not available. If you are stranded on a deserted island, trapped under rubble after an earthquake, or held against your will, it is quite difficult to get someone’s attention much more make a call. In such emergency situations, you should know how to signal for help in order to survive.


Use Your Mobile Phone

Since making a call is still one of the most effective ways to signal for help, we shall discuss it a little further.  Your mobile phone should be part of your everyday carry or EDC. It simply means, you should have your phone with you anywhere you go.


Emergency Call

This is important, particularly when you get in some kind of trouble. Say, our car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. One of the first things you should do is to call someone to tell them of your situation and location. You should also ask them to come get you or send someone to assist you.


911 Silent Call

There are emergency situations in which you can’t talk on the phone. This can be true if you’ve been abducted or if someone broke into your home. If you’re kidnapped and you manage to get hold of a phone, you can’t talk as your abductors may get wind of what you’re doing. In the latter case, you should lock yourself in your safe room with your phone. However, you can’t talk out loud for fear of being discovered by the intruders.

Quadrapro 5.5 Watt Portable Solar Wireless Phone Charger W/ 6,500mAh Dual USB Power Bank

You should still dial 911 but this time, do the Silent Call Procedure. Simply press 1 to indicate you need help from the police. If you have an emergency involving fire, press 2. Press 3 if you require an ambulance. The dispatcher will need more information and will ask you yes or no questions. Press 4 if your answer is “yes” and press 5 if “no.”

The Silent Call is particularly helpful for people who cannot communicate well. You can also text but there’s always the possibility that the receiver will not read your message immediately


Flashlight and Other Light Sources

Mini Tact Light Tactical Led Flashlight

Flashlights, headlamps and lanterns are particularly useful when it gets dark and there’s no other source of light save for the moon and stars. In survival situations, flashlights, etc. can be used to signal for help. The problem with these mechanical light sources is that they’re limited. Once the batteries are drained, you can’t use them anymore unless you replace or recharge the batteries.

Little Sun Solar Lamp

If a flashlight is the only thing you can use to signal for help, conserve its battery or charge. Use it only when necessary and when you spot a rescuer. Your phone should have a flashlight feature. Use it if you don’t have an actual flashlight.


Fire and Smoke

Back in the day, people didn’t have phones to text or FaceTime. They used fire and smoke to signal for help and send out other messages.

Tesla Select Lighter Dual Arc Windproof USB Rechargeable Plasma Lighter

First of all, you need the right materials to create fire. Always have a lighter, waterproof matches or a fire starter in your possession. These will come in handy in survival situations. You need fire to keep you warm when you’re stranded in a place that could get dangerously cold. Fire will also cook your food and boil water, which are also necessary to survive.

Safety Weatherproof Matches With Waterproof Match Case

Fire is also used to signal for help. The light created by the fire can be seen from far away as long as it’s dark. During daytime, the smoke created by the fire can be used to send a distress signal or to help rescuers locate you.




The whistle does more than just call fouls or signify touchdowns. It can also save your life. Whistles should be part of your everyday carry since they can be used to call for help. Remember how Rose managed to survive the sinking of the Titanic with the help of Jack, floating debris and a whistle? When the surviving crew of the ship came back, Rose used a whistle to call let the rescuers know that she was still alive. The sound also led them to her.

Micro Scream Whistle

Blow your whistle If someone is harassing you or is about to attack you. This will startle your would-be attacker and call the attention of people nearby.

5-In-1 Survival Whistle

Another situation in which you can use a whistle to signal for help is when you’re trapped. If you happen to have a whistle when a building collapses on you, use it to help rescuers locate you. This is a better option than shouting or hitting something to create loud sounds. When you shout, you risk ingesting smoke and dust while there is a danger of dislodging something when you strike it.



Mirrors are not only for vanity. You can also use it to signal for help as long as the sun is shining. Use signal mirrors to get the attention of search planes and helicopters. The reflection from your mirror will be directed upwards so this is one of the best ways to signal for help from planes and other highflyers.

Emergency Survival Blanket By Survival Frog

If you don’t have a mirror, use something shiny that can reflect light like the screen of your phone, your watch, or a Mylar blanket.


Bright Colors

Military personnel wear camouflage so they won’t be seen by the enemy when they risk their lives on the field. For us normal folks, we should wear bright-colored clothes when we go enjoy the outdoors. Yellow, red and orange clothes are easier to spot from afar. You can use them to signal for help in case you get lost while hiking, biking or mountain climbing.



If you noticed one thing about all the previous items used to signal for help, all of them can be carried in your bag or purse. They’re all part of your everyday carry. Flares, meanwhile, is not commonly carried every day. There is such a thing as a flare pen launcher. It’s a device as small as a pen which can launch a flare, as the name implies.

Orion Safety Combo Alerter Coastal Signalling Kit

Always have road flares in your car and marine signal flares in your boat, if you own one or if you’re travelling in one. Flares should also be useful when you’re flying in a small plane. Use them when things get desperate and when you’re pretty sure that someone might spot them.



Orange Help Flag

The best way to get rescued is to combine all the ways to signal for help. Aside from using the methods mentioned above, you can also write the word “HELP” in large letters where they could easily be spotted, say, on the roof. If you’re stranded on an island, use whatever you can find such as logs and coconut leaves, to form the word “HELP” or “SOS.”


When you find yourself in a dire situation, the first thing you should do is to remain calm. You’ll only make things worse if you panic. Once you’ve gotten hold of yourself, survey the situation. See what you need to do to survive. Look for things that will be useful. One of the first things you should consider is finding help aside from making sure there is no immediate threat. Use these tips to signal for help then focus on keeping yourself alive until the rescuers come.

What Would I Do If Was In A Plane Crash Photo by Hasenonkel/Bigstock

Visit The Gentleman Pirate for more tips on how to survive different emergencies. If you know of other ways to signal for help in such situations, please feel free to share them in the comment section.

Top Child Abduction Prevention Rules You Should Be Teaching Kids Photo by Suriyawut Suriya/Bigstock

Just a disclaimer – We have partnered with these companies because we use their products and/or proudly trust and endorse them – so we do receive a commission if you make a purchase or sign up for services. Often, we are able to negotiate special discounts and/or bonuses, which we will pass on to you via our links. We often get short notice on sale items available for 24-48 hours as we will pass these savings onto you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Us

Gentleman Pirate Club aims to share valuable knowledge and tips on how you can prepare and survive emergencies and other dire situations. We think of different scenarios and show you the many ways you can survive them. We also believe in self-sufficiency as a way to prepare for whatever lies ahead. As our ship sails in these waters, we look for valuable treasures. When we spot one, we tell you where it is.

Product Categories

Snake River Farms Wagyu Brisket

Recent Posts

Like Us on Facebook