in English, misc.

#SignalForHelp and other Distress Signals

  • Are you experiencing domestic violence?
  • Are you finding yourself in a dangerous situation?
  • Is someone threatening you and you are trying to send a silent signal for help?

Asking for help is not always easy. It’s even more difficult if you need to do it in a secret way, so that you can alert a potential helper/responder without the person threatening you noticing it.

That’s why this #SignalForHelp might be able to save your life – or help you saving someone else’s if you are noticing it.

What is the Signal for Help?

It’s not only for cases of violence at home, either!

Origins of the Signal for Help

The Signal for Help is a “simple one-handed gesture someone can use, without leaving a digital trace, to communicate they need someone to safely check in and support them.”

It’s an award winning initiative that was created by the Canadian Women’s Foundation in 2020 and has since gone viral – and rightfully so.

“I have seen somebody using the signal – what should I do?”

The above videos shop you how to use the signal. But let’s assume you actually see someone using it…

  • What should you do?
  • What can you do?

The Canadian Women’s Foundation offers some advice for such a situation as well.

You can download their Signal for Help Responder’s Action Guide via their website.

In addition, you can enroll in their free mini-course and subscribe and listen to their podcast.

911 and Emergency Phone Numbers in other Countries

I live in the US, where “911” is the well-known phone number to alert emergency services like the police, fire department, or Ambulance. The same number works in Canada, while the UK uses 999 or 112. In German, where grew up, we use 112 (traditionally, it’s 110 for the Police and 112 for the fire brigade and ambulance.)

But what about other countries?

Check out Wikipedia’s handy list of international Emergency Phone numbers!

What about other Distress Signals and Ways to alert Help?

I don’t really know the Morse alphabet, but I do remember learning about the Morse Code for SOS as a child. The great thing is that it is such a low-tech concept, and you can use it as an audio as well as visual signal:

This is basically what “S-O-S” looks or sounds like:

. . . _ _ _ . . .

” S” ” O” “S”

  1. 3 short signals for the “S”
  2. 3 long signals for the “O”
  3. 3 short signals for the “S”

You can do this with a blinking flash light… the lights of your car… you can use short and long sounds… or simply knocks (though instead of doing a “long knock,” simply use short and long pauses in between the knocks.

As you can see, technically it’s pretty versatile!

Flags, Flares, Radio Signals, and More

Wikipedia has another interesting article about other options to send a distress signal.

It’s worth a look!

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