How to Signal for Help Using an Emergency Whistle

Video emergency whistle signal

How to Signal for Help Using an Emergency Whistle

One of the most important pieces of survival gear you can bring on the trail is an emergency whistle. Of course, having a survival whistle won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use it. Discover how to signal for help using a emergency whistle so you can get assistance if you have a problem on your hike.

What Is an Emergency Whistle?

How to Use an Emergency Whistle How to Signal for Help Using an Emergency WhistleMale hiker helping friend climb up cliff with text overlay Do You Know How to Use an Emergency Whistle? The One Thing Every Hiker Should Know

Even though you try to prepare for everything that might happen on a hike, sometimes the unexpected can occur. You might get lost. You might injure an ankle or knee and be unable to walk. Even worse, you might be injured AND lost at the same time.

While you can certainly use your voice to try to call for help, it’s only a matter of time before you strain yourself and get too tired to yell. Plus, your voice doesn’t always carry as long or as far as you think.

Related: Wildlife Safety Tips Every Hiker Needs to Know

That’s why you should always have an emergency whistle on you when you’re hiking.

Most survival whistles are bright orange so they’re easily visible. They’re also typically made of plastic so they can stand up to some wear and tear. That being said, you may also find metal emergency whistles or survival whistles in different colors.

Pea Whistle vs. Pealess Whistle

At one time, almost all whistles had a small ball inside, called a pea, that was used to create the whistling sound. However, if the pea became dirty, jammed, full of water, or frozen, the whistle wouldn’t work.

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This is why almost all of the survival whistles you see today are pealess. If you know there’s a good chance your whistle could get dirty or wet, it’s important to ensure it’s a pealess whistle so it will still work if you need it.

Related: How to Stay Dry When You’re Hiking in the Rain

Where to Get an Emergency Whistle

Many hiking backpacks and other pieces of hiking gear come with a built-in emergency whistle. If your backpack doesn’t have an emergency whistle, or you want to have a backup (which is always a good idea), it’s very easy to purchase one separately.

Related: The Best Hiking Backpack for Every Type of Hiker

If you need to get a survival whistle, here are a few good options you should consider:

  • LuxoGear Emergency Whistle With Lanyard
  • Fox 40 Classic Whistle
  • Coghlan’s Survivo II 5-in-1
  • NRS Storm Whistle

You can also check out this list of the best emergency whistles for hikers to discover even more outstanding options.

How to Use a Survival Whistle

Having a whistle is great. However, it’s even more important to know how to use a survival whistle. If you’re ever in trouble on a hike, here are the three important whistles you need to know:

One blast: “Where are you?”

Two blasts: “Come to me.”

Three blasts: “Emergency. I need help.”

After each whistle sequence, pause to listen for a response. Once you do hear a response, you might need to keep repeating the signal so rescuers can pinpoint your location.

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Also, keep in mind that three blasts of any sound is an internationally recognized distress signal. If you find yourself in trouble and you don’t have a survival whistle or it’s not working, you can bang rocks together, hit a tree with a stick, or do anything else three times in a row to signal for help.

Related: Hiking for Beginners- All of Your Questions Answered

Signaling for Help Using a Survival Whistle

Sometimes, the unexpected can happen when you’re on a hike. That’s why you should always carry a survival whistle with you. More importantly, take time to make sure you know how to use an emergency whistle so you can signal for help if you need to.

More Helpful Hiking Tips

Did you find this guide on how to use a survival whistle helpful? Are you looking for even more great hiking tips? Then please be sure to check out some of our other popular posts:

  • Trail Etiquette: The Basic Rules of Hiking
  • The Best Hydration Packs for Hikers
  • How to Prevent Blisters When Hiking
  • Must-Have Gear for Hiking With Your Dog
Close up picture of lips on whistle with text overlay How to Signal for Help With an Emergency Whistle Important Information Every Hiker Should Know
How to Signal for Help Using an Emergency Whistle
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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>