How A Soda Can Can Save Your Life

afrankelSurvival, Survival Skills

Something not covered in Tom Brown’s “Sacred Four” of survival, is rescue. If you have done your part and left word with a family member, park ranger’s station or friend, someone should come looking for you. When they do, you will want to make sure you have a means by which to get their attention.

One of the best ways to signal for help from a rescue party is to use a signal mirror.

Soda Can Signal Mirror

You will need:

  • The center remnants of a soda can. (The remnants from your previous project.)
  • 1 box cutter or sharp knife
  • A blunt object

Follow these steps:

  1. The center section cut from the soda can will have sharp edges that must first be dulled. Pick a side to dull first. Start by placing the center remnants on a piece of wood or stone with the sharp edge down. Place a piece of cloth over the top to avoid cutting your hand. With just a small amount of pressure begin to rotate the top against the rough surface. Two revolutions should be plenty.
  2. Flip over and repeat.
  3. Place the soda can horizontally on a piece of wood.
  4. Carefully cut down the center of the can from the inside, and then flatten it out.
  5. Grasp the now rectangular piece of aluminum in a cloth and rub the newly cut edges against the rough surface you used in Step 1. A couple of passes should dull the edge.
  6. Lay your aluminum out and flatten any remaining curve. You may need to bend it back slightly and rub with the heal of your hand. Use the cloth again, as you may still have some sharp edges.
  7. Place it on your work surface with the inside of the can facing up.
  8. Find the center and cut an X into the aluminum – ¼” x ¼”. Now you have the beginnings of a peep hole.
  9. Using the tip of your knife, bend back the corners of the peep hole to create a diamond shaped opening.
  10. Baton the edges down with a piece of wood so that none of the points are sticking out.
  11. With any left over chocolate or other waxy material, polish out the inside surface to as high a polish as possible. The higher the polish, the further the reflection will reach.

You now have a fabricated reflector that you can use as a signal mirror. Check out this fun vintage WWII training film on how to use a signal mirror: