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Thursday, April 30, 2015

May Day: flowers on the door, or a distress signal?


                                     
                                          May is a very interesting month. 



For Catholics, 
it's the month to honor the Virgin Mary.

For Pagans, it's the month of the Goddess, and the holiday Beltane
It is also the month for May baskets, 
                                                                     
Maypoles, 





                                             Mother's Day, 


              And Saving the whales.

                            But amidst all those happy inferences, 
                                 Mayday is also a distress signal!


Mayday, mayday, mayday
Mayday is an emergency procedure word used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications. It derives from the French venez m'aider, meaning "come help me".




It is used to signal a life-threatening emergency primarily by mariners and aviators but in some countries local organizations such as police forces, firefighters, and transportation organizations may also use the term. The call is always given three times in a row ("Mayday Mayday Mayday") to prevent mistaking it for some similar-sounding phrase under noisy conditions, and to distinguish an actual Mayday call from a message about a Mayday call.

The Mayday call sign was originated in 1923 by Frederick Stanley Mockford (1897–1962). A senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London, Mockford was asked to think of a word that would indicate distress and would easily be understood by all pilots and ground staff in an emergency. Since much of the traffic at the time was between Croydon and Le Bourget Airport in Paris, he proposed the word "Mayday" from the French m’aider, as mentioned above, which means "come help me." 


     Making a hoax mayday call is a criminal act in many countries because of the danger to the rescuers' lives that a search-and-rescue operation can create, the potential for real emergencies elsewhere, as well as the very high costs of such rescue efforts. 



For example, making a false distress call in the United States is a federal crime carrying sanctions of up to six years imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000. The coast guard can be contacted in situations that are not emergencies (out of fuel, etc.) by calling "Coastguard, Coastguard, Coastguard, this is (name of vessel)", on VHF channel 16. In many countries special training and a license are required to use a mobile radio transmitter legally, although anyone may legally use one to summon help in a real emergency.

That's all for now...
                             Wishing you baskets of flowers, 
             and never having to use Mayday,Mayday, Mayday.

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