Mayday Signal Mirror - 4" x 4"
The innovative BCB Mayday signal mirror is lightweight, robust, and approved for use in the military. The Compact Version of this issued signal mirror is smaller than most, making it perfect for smaller survival kits.
The BCB Mayday Signal Mirror has a high reflectivity giving it a range of about 10 miles and even more for the advanced version. It is designed for one-handed operation. This signal mirror is accurate and effective.
The Mayday Signal Mirror floats, is quick and easy to use and has instructions printed on reverse side. It is also useful as a personal travel mirror.
The Mayday Signal Mirror is currently in use with the United States Coast Guard, among others.
As with all of your survival gear, don't wait to learn how to use your Mayday Signal Mirror until it becomes a necessity.
Accurate and Effective
Quick and easy to use
Instructions printed on reverse side
Compact at 5 x 5cm (2" x 2")
Order Code: BGCK314 (compact)
Advanced at 10 x 10cm (4" x 4")
Order Code: BGCK324 (advanced)
Are signal mirrors really all that important?
Signal Mirrors have been a standard item in survival and signaling kits for years. Militaries, governments and rescue organizations have long accepted the fact that a signal mirror is a necessary addition to any survival kit. Have you ever wondered why? With all this new technology floating around out there, has the usefulness of the signal mirror gone the way of the Dodo Bird? Well, lets take a look at the Signal Mirror and see where we stand. Lets start by talking about the alternatives for daytime signaling, which is the primary use of the signal mirror.
For the purpose of this discussion, imagine yourself stranded in the wilderness, far from home, with a set of daytime signaling devices. There is an aircraft 15 to 30 miles away (which is not all that far in aviation terms), looking for you. You easily see him, but in the ground clutter, he has not seen you yet.
Signal Flares - are very useful, but are short lived, expensive to ship, dangerous as they can catch fire in the wrong place and at the wrong time, are life limited (and some start to leak with age) and during the daylight hours are often not seen very well. All, unlike a signal mirror. From 15 miles, even a good signal flare will probably only gain the attention of a searcher if you are lucky enough for him to look directly at it. It likely will not catch his attention, unlike if you were using this same signaling method at night. See the difference?
Smoke Signals - in our opinion, are a much better signaling device than a flare during daylight hours. It will, if you get a good one, produce a dense cloud of colored smoke, that can be seen from a long distance. It will, unlike the signal flare in our opinion, catch the attention of a search aircraft. However, they do not last long. If the aircraft turns away, it is possible that the smoke will have dissipated prior to the aircrafts return. Again, this is another good signaling method, but it also has its time and place.
Signal Panel - also a very useful signaling device. So much so, that a signal panel, like the signal mirror, is recommended equipment in some areas of North America as a signaling device. The signal panel, or panel marker, like the signal mirror, lasts indefinitely. It is simply a piece of material or plastic, that is brightly colored so as to, hopefully, catch the attention of someone who is looking for you. An important benefit is that the signal panel, or panel marker, will continue to work even after you are incapacitated, asleep, or simply attending to other tasks. It is inexpensive, so much so that it is kind of a "no brainer" to carry one in your kit. However, it will not capture the attention of a searcher, who still must be looking at the signal panel to realize what he/she is looking at. In other words, if the searcher is not near you, it will not make him look your way. This is another strong point of the signal mirror.
Dye Marker - works on the same concept as a signal panel though its primary use is for deployment while stranded in the water. It can be used on land, but needs to be used against a contrasting background such as a snow covered ground. Most die markers will not cover nearly the area, as densely as the signal panel will. However, it will continue signaling for you even after you are incapacitated, like the Signal Panel.
Smoke Producing Fire - is a great, low tech, method of catching attention. Like the smoke signal, the idea here is to produce enough smoke to get a search to "come your way". Of course, you must keep it going long enough for him/her to actually get close enough to determine if this fire was produced by you (the lost one) or if it is simply a fire produced by something else. If you live in a place like I do, from the air one can see numerous fires on any given day. There is the risk of the fire getting out of hand as well...which is a very bad thing. This is the main reason why this method is not recommended. This, of course, is not a risk with a signal mirror.
Signal Mirror - Which brings us to the topic of this article, the tried and true, low tech, inexpensive, durable signal mirror. The purpose of a daytime signaling device is to catch the attention of the person looking for you, correct? Imagine this, you are standing in a football stadium. Someone on the other end puts down a signal panel, lights a smoke signal and a flare. All three might work fine. But lets say you are looking about 100 degrees away from them...almost out of your peripheral field of vision. Do you see them, maybe. Now, someone takes a signal mirror, after practicing with it ahead of time, and hits you with a blinding flash of light in the face. Do you see that? Come on, tell the truth. You turn to see what the heck that is. Don't you? Ever been blinded by the glare from an oncoming vehicle, or the vehicle in front of you when the sun hits their mirror just right?
Now, lets do the same test with you standing 1000 yards away. How about now? Which one catches your attention? Signal Mirrors have been seen from many, many miles away. Some say that signal mirrors have been seen up to 100 miles away. Though I have not tested this, I do feel confident that they work from an extremely long distance. The point I am trying to make is that the signal mirror actually "draws" your attention. It does not require you to be looking in the general direction. The others, in simple terms, work if I am looking in the proper direction. Don't get me wrong, I carry all of them in my airplane, but if I had to choose only one, it would definitely be the signal mirror. Well, unless my cell phone was guaranteed to be working that is.
As an added bonus, the signal mirror will never run out of batteries, burn out or not work because it got wet. It will not blow away or be too bulky to carry. The signal mirror does, however, require some practice to be used to its full benefit. This is, in my opinion, one of the very few shortcomings of the signal mirror. If you are willing to spend a little bit of time learning how to use a signal mirror, then this is a daytime signaling device for you. However, keep in mind that it will not work well at night, though some attest to its usefulness regarding bright moonlight, and it does not work as well on a very cloudy day, though it continues to work as long as there is some amount of usable light.
All of that being said, I am a large proponent of carrying numerous methods of both daytime and night time signaling, in addition to a quality signal mirror. When your life is on the line, or the lives of others, why skimp on survival equipment. Also, I am quite aware that there are other methods of signaling and that I have not touched on all of them. This discussion is simply to get one thinking realistically about survival, survival signal mirrors and related survival equipment. I am not an expert, and do not claim to be so. I am simply attempting to apply a bit of common sense into this arena. There are numerous survival books and publications which can speak better to this issue, and I highly recommend one taking the time to read up a little on the topic. After all, isn't your life worth it?
Now, to the shameless plug. I do recommend that one get a military approved signal mirror like the NATO Approved Mayday Signal Mirror. It is currently in use by numerous militaries both in Europe and in the United States, to include the United States Coast Guard.
Best Glide Aviation Survival Equipment, Inc.
The author writes for Best Glide A.S.E. and is NOT an survival expert. He is, however, an active commercially licensed pilot and aircraft owner. His comments are included here simply as "food for thought" and should not be taken as expert advice. Responsibility rests with the consumer to choose the survival equipment that is right for the given circumstances.