The most critical moments in any disaster scenario are the minutes and hours right after it takes place. What you do during this time will largely determine how well you survive later on down the road.
That’s right, how you react to a disaster right after it happens has more of an impact on your survival chances than how you well you prepared beforehand or how much you stockpiled.
Something else to consider is the fact that disaster can and will strike when you least expect it (or need it).
This means that you could be cut off from the rest of your family, while you and your spouse or partner are at work and your kids are at school or the homes of friends. Or you may all be together but decide it’s too dangerous to stay at home, so you opt to meet up with relatives and friends at a location outside of town.
In either of these scenarios, the simple but vital importance of having a pre-arranged meeting place set cannot be overlooked. You can’t just assume that your family will all be banded together when disaster strikes, or in the case of the second scenario, that you and anyone else in your survival group will naturally gravitate over to the same location. You can’t just wing it.
This is why you need to have a plan that includes pre-arranged meeting places, also known as a rendezvous point or rally point, in the case of each of those scenarios, and it’s also why you need to take immediate and thoroughly decisive action in the mere minutes after the disaster to ensure that you get to the meeting place (and hope that everybody else does as well).
Let’s go over the specific qualities that your pre-arranged meeting place or rally point is going to need to have.
Qualities Of A Good Meeting Place
Not all locations will serve well as meeting places/rendezvous points. Specifically, you want to choose a location that fulfills the following criteria:
IT’S EASY TO LOCATE
The rally point needs to be somewhere that everyone in your family or group knows about and that will be easy to locate on foot. Do you really want to have someone hike five miles up and down a mountain or navigate through tunnels and dark alleyways?
The simplest way to ensure that your location is easy to locate is to choose a location next to something, such as a landmark, that everyone in your group knows about. In the case of an urban meeting place, it could be the patch of woods next to your children’s high school. Or in a rural setting, it could be by a large rock a few hundred yards off the side of a road.
IT MUST BE AWAY FROM TRAFFIC AND CROWDS
This one will be difficult to do in an urban environment, and in fact it might be downright impossible. But at the very least, choose a location that is as far away from crowded areas as possible. Popular restaurants, government buildings, next to freeways or highways, grocery stores, crossroads, and roundabouts and so on are poor choices for an urban meeting place.
Aim for it to be in a quieter part of town where there are fewer people.
In the case of a rural environment, following this rule will be significantly easier. It’s okay if you can hear traffic from your meet up location, such as on the freeway, but it should still be in a place that is concealable and surrounded by trees, bushes, hills, or a combination of those types of things.
IT MUST BE CONVENIENT WITH MULTIPLE ROUTES TO GET TO IT
Last but not least, your rally point needs to be in a convenient location with multiple routes to get to it. Imagine if your kids are in school and you and your spouse are at work when the disaster strikes, so you’re all separated.
Where’s a location that’s sort of in the middle of all that and that has multiple routes from each starting point to get to? Ideally, you should have three routes to get from the starting point to the meeting location: primary, secondary, and tertiary routes.
Once you have selected your rally point based on that above list of criteria, your next step will be to practice it.
This means you and your family need to practice the routes for getting from your starting points to the meeting up location. Actually, walk on foot from your kids’ school(s) to the location. Then walk from your place of work over to the location.
In the case of a meeting location outside of town where you’re going to meeting up with other people, you all need to do the same thing: actually practice driving out to the location, and try out your different routes.
The idea is that you should all have the three routes memorized in your head. This isn’t too much to ask. You probably know several routes for getting around your town to your favorite stores, restaurants, and other places to hang out right? If so, then memorizing routes for your survival meeting location will be easy.
Again, actually practice using the routes until you have things memorized. You can refer to a map at first, but eventually, you should be able to get from point to another based on memory.
As was noted before, having a pre-arranged meeting location where you can meet up with your loved ones when the grid goes down is a hugely important component of any survival plan.
Find a location that meets each of the three criteria that we set above, and then practice your primary, secondary, and tertiary routes for getting from your starting point to that meeting location.
When disaster does strike and the time comes to put your plan into action, you won’t even have to think about it.