It is easy to overlook the need for a meeting place when an emergency is not imminent. However, in the panic and chaos of a natural or manmade disaster, do you and your loved ones have a plan for knowing who is safe or not? Even when not contending with a disaster, like when hunting or hiking, having a familiar rendezvous is ideal in case your team gets split up.
A rendezvous point is a location that is familiar to everyone in your group. However, it is not enough to designate a specific area; you also need to determine precise times for a meeting, allowing you and others to know when seeking emergency services or help is necessary.
Choosing a Location
It is not enough to merely point at a map and say, “that’s our meeting spot.” You want to scout the location. It needs to be easy to find, but it shouldn’t be overcrowded. While popular places are typically easy to find, crowds make it challenging to locate your friends, especially when panicked or in distress. Instead of picking a popular spot, choose a landmark near a popular spot or something that is easy to pinpoint. For example, you do not want to pick a large boulder in an area with lots of large boulders. Instead, choose a bridge, road, building, monument, or distinctive landscape feature. You will also want to make sure that the meeting place is accessible from multiple routes, providing a better chance of getting to the rendezvous.
Selecting a Time
Another aspect of an excellent rendezvous is setting a time for the meetup. While it is easy to state an actual time, do not take technology for granted. Phones can die, and watches can be unreliable. Instead of picking a random time, like 3:30 pm, choose an option that is easier to tell without a clock. For example, schedule a meeting at sunset or sunrise. You can even choose the sun’s location, like when it is at its peak. By selecting a time based on visuals and not time, people in your group do not need to rely on equipment other than their eyes. If they arrive at the designated time, and you or someone else does not show up, then they know to seek help.
Ensuring Everyones’ Safety
Beyond choosing the place and time for a rendezvous, you will need to practice getting to the meeting place. It is not enough to discuss a contact point. In an emergency, adrenaline and your fight or flight response will make it hard to think rationally, which means your body is relying on instinct and muscle memory. Before separating, you and your group should practice multiple routes to the rendezvous point, ensuring each person has a chance to lead the group.
Rendezvous points may seem like overkill when you have access to survival equipment like GPS trackers, satellite phones, and other tools. However, in a real emergency, you never know what tools will work or that you will have access to. By developing a plan around an agreed-upon meeting place, you can ensure that everyone in your party remains safe and that chances of survival are in your favor. Do you have any favorite rendezvous tips? Share them below.