In a crisis situation, flares are great items to have if you need to get some attention. Yes, we've talked about needing a whistle to get attention, but I believe that a flare can be a great thing to have with you as well.
That being said, there are some problems with the flares that shoot into the air:
- They are a one use item
- They can burn you.
- They can be expensive.
- Most flares, unless they use a parachute, will be visible for less than thirty seconds…and can be mistaken for other things, like a firecracker.
What are some alternatives to using a flare?
- Whistle or loud horn
- Light stick
- Powerful flashlight
- Light wand
I personally like the light wand option because it is a low cost, simple option that can be seen from great distances and from many directions at once. This wand can easily be made from a few items you already have that are just lying around the house. This definitely beats the expense of flares! Also, it can stay on for hours at a time.
How to make the Light Wand:
Materials needed: A flashlight (a push button on the base works the best), clear tape, 4 Styrofoam cups (white is brightest), ballpoint pen or sharpie, and a knife.
- In the bottom of one of the cups, cut a hole the same circumference as the flashlight.
- Insert the flashlight so that the handle of the flashlight comes out the bottom of the cup, and the light is inside the cup.
- Cut the bottom off of two of the cups making sure that they are as level as possible.
- Match up the bases of the two cups from step #3 ,and tape them together.
- Now tape the mouth of the unmodified cup to the mouth of either one of the cups in step #4.
- Take the cup that has the flashlight in it and tape it to the mouth of the other cup.
Your wand is completed! All you have to do now is wait until dark to test it out. The beauty of this wand is that it's easy, inexpensive, you can see it from a great distance at night, and it looks different than most lights at night. An adaption of this is that you can tape this light to a broom handle so that you can wave the light in a large arc so that you are more likely to gain someone’s attention. Another adaptation is that you could use semitransparent red tape so that you would have a red and white light which would really make your wand stand out even more. If you would like to store one already put together, I would do all of the cutting ahead of time and just store the parts together. If you put one together and take it apart repeatedly, it is likely to damage the cups, and the tape will no longer stick to the cups.
This is one of many solutions. I would love to hear how some of you have prepared for drawing the attention of others so that they can come help you in your time of need. Please share in the comments!