How to Signal With a Searchlight

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If you find yourself lost or injured in the wilderness, you can use any type of light to advertise your presence to searchers. Travel to an elevated, conspicuous location, and point the light in the direction of help. Give the international signal for distress – SOS – by making three quick flashes with the light, followed by three long flashes and end with three quick flashes. Turn the light off for about 60 seconds, and complete the sequence again.

Helpful Tips

If the switch on your light is difficult to operate effectively, you can try to cover the light with something opaque to mark the beginning and end of the flashes. If you are unable to turn the light on and off well enough to send an SOS signal, try to flash the light three times, which also indicates distress. Keep signaling with the light until you receive a reply from rescuers, or help arrives at your location.


Photo Credits

  • Sergey Nivens/iStock/Getty Images