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GROUND RULES by cl i f f jacobson All the Right Signals Quiz yourself to see how you’d fare in a backcountry emergency.

you to STOP so they can avoid this dangerous obsta- cle. The best signal to use is: a) Give three loud blasts on a whistle. Wait a few seconds and do this again. b) Stow your paddle and wave your arms frantically! c) Whistle and point the paddle blade straight up. d) Hold your paddle hori- zontally over your head and pump it up and down.

WHEN FACED WITH AN injured Scout in the deep backcountry, I used my Silva Ranger compass to signal a nearby float plane for help. And we delivered the Scout to a hospital in time. The moral of the story? It’s wise to carry signaling gear on an

outing. Take this quiz and see how much you know about back- country signaling devices. Choose the best answer or answers.

1 Your canoe capsizes in a

remote area and leaves you stranded. What’s the best way to let a passing airplane know that you need help? a) Build a huge bonfire b) Build three huge, smoky bonfires set in a large triangle c) Build three huge, smoky bonfires in a straight line, about 100 feet apart d) Build a smoky bonfire and lay out brightly colored clothes on the ground

2 A Scout is injured on a hiking trip. You have a VHF


aircraft radio, and there’s a plane within talking range. You don’t know the fre- quency of the pilot’s radio, but you do know the emer- gency frequency, which is: a) 100 MHz b) 121.5 MHz c) Channel 12 d) Channel 16

3 You’re canoeing a small, noisy rapid. Seventy-five yards ahead, you see a downed tree (strainer) that blocks the river. You must signal the canoes behind


4 Your friend is seriously injured while hiking in the desert. There’s no wood to build a fire, but there are colored rocks with which you can construct a ground- to-air signal. Which one(s) is/ are the most appropriate? a) X b) V c) N d) Y

5 Your crew has a medical emergency while canoeing. Which signal device might best attract the attention and help from a float plane? a) Marine orange smoke signal b) Heliograph mirror c) Orange tarp

6 You’re camping on snow. Which of these would be most likely to draw the attention of a passing air- plane on a bright, sunny day? a) The beam from an ultra- bright flashlight

b) Smartphone set on “strobe” c) The International HELP signal or the word “HELP” drawn in the snow with a sea dye marker d) Marine orange smoke e) Red flare

7 There’s an emergency, but the battery in your cell- phone is too low to make a call. What can you do? a) Turn off the phone; wait 10 seconds, then re-start it. This will boost battery power. b) Send a text message; texting uses less power. c) Dial SOS on the phone keypad. The SOS will go directly to Search and Rescue. And if you have a smart- phone, its GPS function will pinpoint your location. d) Dial 000*. It uses a satellite boost to connect to a 911 operator.

8 Your troop is backpack- ing in Smoky Mountains National Park. Which of the following devices would be most useful in an emergency? a) Heliograph mirror b) CB radio c) White flare d) Red flare e) Marine orange smoke ¿

FIND ANSWERS and an additional 10 questions at signalquiz.


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