Loud Whistle For Your Emergency Kit


A VERY LOUD whistle may be one of the most important items to have in your emergency survival kit.

Why? Because with relatively little effort you can whistle for help. The sound of a whistle will travel a LONG WAY.

While it’s highly advisable to also include (in your kit) items such as a fire starter, portable water filter, cordage, knife, emergency blanket (‘space blanket’), tarp (shelter), container (water, boiling, etc.), compass & area-map, emergency food, headlamp, etc., the fact is that you might be in a situation whereby you cannot get out of yourself – and you may need to be rescued.

– twisted ankle or worse on a hike in the forest
– you get disoriented & lost while going off-trail
– out on the lake and your boat engine dies
– your car goes over the embankment, out of site, you can’t get out
– (you get the idea…)

The problem is, how will first responders find you??

Here’s a simple but important little prep to add to your emergency kit:



The Loudest Whistle

(subjective of course, but this one’s really loud)

Loud Whistle

A whistle like this one, ACME Thunderer Official Referee Whistle, is very loud and will give you a significant advantage for being found during a rescue operation.

(It works at very low breath pressures.)

Here’s what it sounds like:
ACME ‘Thunderer’ Whistle Sound

How loud is the ACME Thunderer whistle?

One reviewer said, “I used this whistle while serving as drum major for a college marching band. In a loud stadium with over 90,000 fans, this whistle can still be easily heard across the field or throughout the stands…”

(If you’re lost in the woods (or any other scenario), this whistle WILL get noticed.)

Where is the ACME Whistle made?
They are made in Birmingham, UK.

Tip: A whistle on your keychain may also be a good idea! (personal security)

Tip: Especially for the ladies, having a loud whistle while running, jogging, or walking will likely break off a ‘typical’ attack scenario as attention is drawn toward the situation.

Tip: This whistle (and others) can be so loud that it can hurt your ears! Just saying…

With NRR 32 Noise Canceling Hearing Protection

(also great for shooting hearing protection)

Tip: Good to have on a boat for ‘just in case’.

Pea-Less Floating Whistle – Powerful 122 dB Signal

Another popular whistle:
Fox 40 Classic Whistle

Okay, that’s it. A public service announcement ;)

Got your whistle?

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  1. – One nice thing about a whistle, as opposed to some other signaling devices I can think of, there is no way it can go off ‘accidentally’. No reloads to keep track of, ready to go when you need it. I have a flat two-tone “rape whistle” a previous employer was passing out. The company no longer exists, but the whistle works pretty well 20 years later.
    – Papa S.

  2. I ask my wife to trade in her whistle for a 9mm. She was very happy to do so since my wife does not need a compass to navigate her way thru life to safety. A whistle really!

    1. I presume that you’re making a joke? (sometimes difficult to tell in a comment)

      While a “9mm” is excellent personal protection, a whistle remains an advisable ad-on to one’s kit (for the reasons I listed – and others).

      I wouldn’t have traded, I simply would have “added”.

      1. @Ken,
        I was not making a joke. However, I was very bewildered that anyone would depend on having a whistle in hand for their personal protection. Without seeming harsh, I honestly can not fathom the concept of a whistle for safety. I have never seen a whistle on a Green Beret and I have been in some tuff spots.

        1. It makes perfect sense for getting found. I don’t see ‘protection’ mentioned in the article. If you accidentally shoot yourself in the foot out in the woods and can’t walk, try the whistle.

        2. Anonymous
          Ah,,,you are incorrect on whistles used by Green Berets. They were used in the jungles of Vietnam, as dh is a retired U. S. Army Special Forces Green Beret.

    2. Texas Boy,

      No offense intended, just an observation for learning why you reject the usefulness of a whistle.

      Did your wife give up her cell phone when she got her 9mm? Have you or anyone you know ever broken an ankle in a remote, rugged location and couldn’t stand up without almost blacking out in pain? Knowing your hunting companion was less than two miles away unaware of your situation?

      This happened to me back in the 90’s, opening day of deer season, an hour before sunrise. After numerous attempts to get up and walk, each rewarded with stars flashing in my closed eyes, knowing my brother was close, but outside of shouting distance. Even if we had cell phones (which we didn’t) there wouldn’t have been any reception (still don’t, I live now within a mile of where it happened). Luckily I was able to recover my rifle and fire off two sets of three rapid shots that resulted in my brother locating me and facilitating in me getting to the distant hospital. We did not have a plan for such emergencies prior to that incident. I relied on the age old three shots means needs help. At first, my brother told me, he didn’t realize I needed help. After the second three rapid shots, it dawned on him that even if I was shooting at a deer, no one had ever known me to need more than one shot.

      My whistle is now my constant companion, for good reason. I don’t carry it as a replacement for my weapon.

      1. D
        Wasnt that an English copper thing?
        The reason being when they were in hot pursuit or such code from whistle blast was easier to understand by those responding?

        1. Tommyboy,

          Really don’t know. Those examples were ones I made up for myself and friends/family. Simple, easily remembered.

  3. One of the few things I retained from my days working the streets. Keep mine on a small carabiner hanging from a belt loop. Invaluable for getting attention from a distance. Easy to work up simple codes with family and friends to convey information from a distance. Example: one long tweet (may I have your attention) followed by a single short tweet (everything OK). One long tweet followed by two shorts= keep coming, no emergency yet. Long tweet three rapid short tweets=need help now, come quickly. Other short messages easy to work out with friends/family, just keep it simple.

  4. Family and I all have micro scream whistles, 100 dB, hope to never need it, but if needed it’s there. In addition to other personal protection things carried most everywhere..

  5. Long ago my husband went to Neiman Marcus while on a business trip and told me he bought me a present from there. I was excited, wow something pretty maybe shiny couldn’t wait. He came home and gave me the box. With anticipation I opened the little white box with Neiman Marcus initials on it. And there in shiny silver was a whistle. Not what I was expecting even a little bit. About 20 years later I still have it on my keychain.

    1. Sorry, i know its off track, but the way things are going a whistle will be the most mundane of items we will need to carry around

  6. Have one in each of the “emergency survival kit” (first line of the Article) and the Vehicles.

    If I remember correctly not all situations one gets themselves into needs the 9mm to shoot someone with, whereas getting attentions often is (not sure why it always gets to shooting and having a gun ….. hummmm).

    Also is useful as mentioned to communicate short distances when the Dumb Phone is gone poof.

    And at less than $0.00 that’s cheap noise.

    1. Honestly,
      Theres very few instances the gun would help other than having that one round!

  7. I guess I’m getting something else out of this post by Ken. I see this as offering as a cheap, small, force multiplier with numerous uses. One use of which Ken mentioned and I gave a real life example of.

    I’ve seen many examples of women escaping assaults by their being able to draw attention to their dilemma by screaming, blowing a horn, activating a personal siren (once quite popular), as well as using the tried and true “police whistle”. All legal in any setting, especially when in distress.

    I know some folks that never carried a gun in their lives (and in many cases had never owned a gun) until concealed carry became popular and widespread. Once they did start carrying, they boast they wouldn’t be caught with a pistol less than high capacity, 2 1/2 lb, .45, and scorn anyone who carries a lesser gun. On the other hand, I’ve been a gun carrier most of my life, practice as if my, and my family’s lives depend on my abilities, and I feel completely comfortable and able carrying a compact .380. (if open warfare breaks out, the zombies become common outside of D.C., or the situation around the homestead dictates, I will opt for bigger and better).

    In the meantime, I’ll continue carrying my old whistle with half the chrome peeling off, just in case I fall out of another tree stand (wasn’t planned), scare the crap out of a critter (two or four legged), or need to get my family’s attention without walking a quarter mile to get close enough to talk. Never was a Green Beret or a Seal so I don’t know what they would do, but I’ve known, worked with, and have been friends with several. Never knew a one who passed up gadgets that made their task easier. But, that’s just me, I’m not as competent as others I guess.

    1. Dennis;
      Not to worry my friend, we all love ya despite your incompetence’s AND your worn out “whistle”

    2. Dennis
      Besides the SF carrying whistles, dh said a past member was known to carry a bugle. lol

  8. A whistle has other uses too. Ever blow a low whistle at an animal? Some are drawn to it. Might be good trying to bag survival meat. Also blowing a whistle could be a great diversion, maybe safer than shooting. Have everyone turning and looking “who is the fool blowing a whistle?”, while your companions make an escape from a superior force. A shrill whistle might even scare off a 4 legged predator.
    Years ago, a miner told me he could hardly wait for the “Weasel”. I had know idea of what he was talking about. Around 4 pm we heard the mine plant steam whistle. The miner picked up his lunch bucket and said ,” There’s the Weasel! Now we can go home!”

    1. Minerjim;
      Did you actually just tell that 80 year old joke???? LOL Gata LOVE it. :-) :-) :-)

    1. Minerjim;
      Ohhhhh I believe ya for sure,
      My problem is I can hardly remember the 70s anymore, except the Beaches in San Diego, the VERY fine looking ladies and the cheap pot…. HAHAHAHA
      Oh yes, and the Police Whistles on the Beaches signaling 10:00 Curfew for under 16 year olds. (see how I worked that in there?) hehehehe

      1. NRP
        For a moment there I thought you were going to reference “wolf whistles”, but the Police whistles did just fine. Once was told that, ” If you can remember the 70s, you weren’t ‘really there’ “. We also used compressed air brass whistles (steam whistles) underground for signaling up and down the raises and shafts back in the day. Then they got ‘leaky feeder’ radios and the whistles went away. I have one out in the shop that somehow came home in my lunch bucket one day.

  9. I don’t see how anyone could talk in a negative manner about a whistle. ANY signal device might save a life.

  10. Whistle might be good in the bush, but If you try it in a wally world parking lot, it might go as unnoticed as a car alarm. :)

  11. Have the jetscream whistle 122 dB
    hurts my ears, had the thing for years.
    same as the link above
    My dogs can easily hear that way out in the woods when they take off exploring.

  12. Loud whistles are great, but there’s also something to also be said for a regular whistle…..by the dozen, and not just as a “contingency” item. I have them everywhere: glove box,, tackle boxes, boats, backpacks, around the neck for hiking, etc. On boats they satisfy the legal requirement for a “”noise maker” so even on a tin boat, I have a whistle tied on to a thwart with the same rope that holds the spare drain plug.. When our kids were younger we handed them each a whistle if we were out walking or berry picking in bear country,: scared kids can have difficulty finding their throat. And the cost is modest, like under a buck each delivered. Google “coach whistle”

  13. – Maybe I should have mentioned that while I have had the thing almost as long as the .357 I carry, While I haven’t had to use it much here lately. I’d hate to be without either one. A blast on a whistle is a lot cheaper and carries almost as far as the sound from a shot, and sure is cheaper and less… Intimidating? Is that the word I want? Maybe alarming would be a better choice.

    Whistles, drums and bugles were the original, low-tech means of communicating in the woods and on the battlefield. They are predecessors to the radio, and a whistle is a cheap, lightweight backup for when your more modern system is “Tango Uniform”.

    – Papa S.

  14. Yup! I agree on the usefulness of the a good loud whistle, I’ve carried one in my pack (and other places) since around “86” and have use it many times for getting attention of groups and crowds.

    Very effective on kids of all ages!

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