The Preparedness (preppers), survival and every day carry (EDC) communities understand the usefulness of a whistle. It is one of the least expensive, easy to find and important items to have in earthquake, survival, emergency preparedness, or bug out kits. Its use on a family campout, hike, backpacking adventure or any outdoor activity could be lifesaving. Even in an urban or domestic setting they are important.
A person can yell for help for a little while. If you are not injured your voice will last maybe thirty minutes of continual yelling before you are down to a whisper. You've gone hoarse and your voice is gone. Yelling at the top of your voice for that long can put your voice out of commission for hours to days. This is where a whistle comes in. Even an injured person can blow a whistle with very little effort and make a lot of noise. You can keep this up for days and still have your voice. Whistle sounds tend to carry better than voices and can be heard farther away.
Lost in the woods, slipped off the trail, alone with a broken foot, or in the community park are all places a whistle could be useful to signal help. Family outings often are chaotic. It's hard to keep an eye on everyone. Kids have the ability to disappear. Give each kid a whistle with instructions on how to use it if lost or endangered. The same can hold true in an urban setting (more for being in danger).
The whistles main use is not to annoy you. I realize that is a possibility. However, three whistle blasts, pause and repeat is a universal distress signal. Another distress signal is Morse Code for SOS. It can be done with light or sound. Three long blasts, three short and three long again. Pause and repeat that signal as well.
One of the easy and fun ways to always have a whistle is the paracord survival bracelet. These are typically made with Mil Spec or 550 paracord. (Type III 550 Paracord is the commercial version of Mil Spec 550 Parachute Cord, also known as Mil Spec Paracord or Mil Spec 550 Paracord). Paracord bracelets are fun to make and getting the kids involved is easy. Kids being involved gives them ownership and pride in what they have done. It won't be just mom or dad giving them something. The bracelets can be finished with a whistle buckle. A side release whistle buckle adds a finished look to the bracelet and allows for easy removal. (It might be easier to blow the whistle off of your wrist.)
Whistle buckles come in different colors or patterns including glow in the dark and camouflage. Some come with a compass or fire starter. Wearing the bracelet gives you a whistle and an emergency length of paracord with you all the time.
I've only seen whistle buckles that are the pealess type. These are better in cold weather. The little pea or ball in the whistle can freeze up from saliva.
M. Shane Sullivan, Owner/Manager of Paracordgalaxy.com