A Guide for Parents
Teach Your Children How To Sound Off
The ability to call for help is one of the most important aspects of a child’s survival, whether in the wilderness or in civilization among people. This one survival skill alone can save the lives of children, if they understand how and when to sound the alarm. As a parent, you can help your children be safe by supplying the tools and knowledge of how to signal for help.
- Give each child his or her own signal whistle, with a lanyard so it can be carried around the neck. A very compact and effective signal whistle is the WW-3 Res-Q Whistle made by ACR and available online for less than $5. Similar whistles can be purchased at sporting goods stores.
- Teach children that when they feel lost or threatened in any way, it’s time to blow the whistle vigorously. This applies to situations in the wilderness or in civilization.
- Teach your child that if he or she is lost, the best procedure is to stop moving, sit down and blow the whistle with three sharp blasts. Then stop and listen for the sound of people calling their name. If they don’t hear anything, they should blow the whistle three times again, and then stop and listen. They should repeat this process until rescued. Let your child know it is important to wait and listen for searchers. If they hear someone, they should blow the whistle again, so the searchers can locate the lost child.
- Teach your child that stopping and sitting down is important so he or she does not wander away from those who are searching. It’s important to not only stay put, but also to make themselves as visible as possible by moving out into the open and not hiding. A few years ago, a youngster got lost for four days while camping with his family. In despair, the family and search and rescue teams scoured the forest until they almost gave up hope. Luckily, the boy was found, and it turns out he had been intentionally hiding from searchers because his parents had taught him to avoid strangers. As a parent, work with your children so they understand that there are times when it’s okay to seek the help of strangers.
- If you hear the signal whistle, try to determine the direction the sound came from. To avoid confusion, don’t use a signal whistle to respond, but call your child’s name, then wait for the next set of three blasts of the whistle. If possible, recruit others to join the search, and follow the sound of the whistle.
- Teach children that if they are threatened or attacked by a person or an animal, they should blow the whistle continually, without stopping. The shrill sound might frighten away a human or animal predator.
- To familiarize your children with the whistle and make them comfortable using it, do a practice drill someplace where other people will not be alarmed by the sound. Have each child practice blowing the whistle vigorously in the 3-blast pattern. You want your children to be perfectly comfortable with the use of the whistle and to have no misunderstanding about when and how to use it.
- Teach your child that if the whistle is not available, to use other means to make noise. Explore with your child different ideas about how an audible signal might be made.