A distress signal, also known as a distress call, is an internationally recognized means for obtaining help. Distress signals are communicated by transmitting radio signals, displaying a visually observable item or illumination, or making a sound audible from a distance. A distress signal indicates that a person or group of people, ship, aircraft, or other vehicle is threatened by a serious or imminent danger and requires immediate assistance.: PCG D−3 Use of distress signals in other circumstances may be against local or international law. An urgency signal is available to request assistance in less critical situations. For distress signalling to be the most effective, two parameters must be communicated: Alert or notification of an emergency in progress Position or location (or localization or pinpointing) of the party in distress.For example, a single aerial flare alerts observers to the existence of a vessel in distress somewhere in the general direction of the flare sighting on the horizon but extinguishes within one minute or less. A hand-held flare burns for three minutes and can be used to localize or pinpoint more precisely the exact location or position of the party in trouble. An EPIRB both notifies or alerts authorities and at the same time provides position indication information.