February 3, 2013 Fort Whyte Winter Survival Course

A Message from Bill, our Search & Rescue Pilot:
“Sorry I was a little bit late. Took off at 11AM and two minutes later my headset quit. Had to land and change batteries in it.
You can tell the participants that it was smoke that first attracted our attention then the signal mirrors confirmed it. You weren’t where I expected you to be so it was a good exercise….the plane was in the vicinity but it was your signaling that drew us in to your exact location. Attached are a couple of pictures of the group. Can’t go below 1000′ above ground in the City, would go to 500′ in unsettled area”.
– Bill

Coghlan’s Sight-Grid Signal Mirror

As opposed to the BCB signal mirror (which has a shiny metallic finish) the Coghlan’s model has a glass reflection surface which is far superior when it comes to producing a strong flash of light. Metallic type finishes will soon lose their lustre, which dramatically reduces the brightness of flashes. Glass on the other hand, will provide you with much stronger and more powerful flashes for a very long time.

Although the Coghlan’s model is slightly larger, it’s by no means big and no less portable. It can easily slip into your pocket and is ultra-light. Additionally, the larger size of the Coghlan’s signal mirror is noticeably more ergonomic (making it easier to maneuver and less susceptible to dropping) and catches more light. The larger sighting hole also makes focusing and aiming less strenuous and less tedious.

The plastic sleeve it comes in can be reused and has a tab that can be tucked in, helping to protect the device from scratches. Because this signal mirror is literally a mirror, it can be used as such – something that is not really possible with the BCB model once it loses its reflective qualities. One similarity both models share are instructions on the back – a very handy feature.

  • Glass reflection surface for superior flash distance
  • Waterproof & Break-Resistant acrylic case
  • Instructions for use on back of signal mirror
  • Lanyard hole
  • Floats
Highly recommended

Made in Japan

Cost: Around CDN $12


BCB Signal Mirror (Heliograph)


Super thin, ultra lightweight and very small – you’ll barely notice you’re carrying it.

A signal mirror is an essential piece of survival gear. This particular model is issued to the British army and can be aimed very accurately at a target.

In a survival situation, do not underestimate the functionality and effectiveness of this device to attract attention. A flash from a heliograph can be seen from a tremendous distance. Not only does the BCB signal mirror give off super intense flashes, but it also has instructions stuck on the back in case you forget how to use it.

From the BCB website:

Mayday Signalling Mirror (Compact)

These innovative mirrors are lightweight, and robust.
Highly reflective giving it a range of approx 10 miles for the compact, and longer for the advanced. Designed for one handed operation.

• Accurate and effective
• Floats
• Robust
• Quick and easy to use
• Useful as a personal travel mirror
• Lanyard hole
• Instructions printed on reverse side

Size: 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2 in)

Cost: Around CDN $10