Do you know how to send out an old-timey SOS?
This latest call to the Trail RCMP — post-snowmaggedon — might signal the homefront that now is a good time to brush up on ways to send out an international Morse code of distress which actually means Save Our Souls, or Save our Ship.
Or in this Trail case, the SOS sender was beckoning, “Save me from my snowed in driveway.”
Police, however, strongly advise that a SOS should only be used in emergencies, and not for assistance in clearing an overwhelmingly heavy dump of winter precipitation.
This one-off file began with a call to the Trail detachment on Tuesday, Jan. 4, just after 11 p.m. Police were informed that an unknown person was flashing a light using the SOS distress sequence from high in the snow covered hills on the west side of the city.
The caller, a 41-year old woman living across the river from West Trail in Shaver’s Bench, said she had spotted the SOS signal and thought it prudent to report it to the RCMP.
She was so remarkably sharp about the origin of the flashing light, that the woman was able to guide police through town and up a twisty-turny hillside to the source of the distress signal, which emanated from a property in West Trail, on Lookout Street.
Officers hiked through the deep snow of a long, unplowed driveway to arrive at the home.
The RCMP spoke to and confirmed that the signaler, a 37-year-old Nelson woman, was in good health; however, she had became stranded inside the residence due to the unplowed driveway.
The woman said she was trying to signal Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue or City of Trail crews to attend the home to help her dig out.
Officers provided the woman with guidance on how to get the driveway cleared of snow and warned her not to use the Morse code of SOS — three dots/three dashes/three dots — in this kind of situation.
“We ask the public to only use it in emergency situations,” advises Sgt. Mike Wicentowich,Trail detachment commander.
He thanked the caller who guided Mounties to the exact address with surprising accuracy adding, “The attending officers were impressed with her ability to interpret the signal and help us quickly find the location.”