What kinds of places make good Rally Points?
The best rally points are both out-of-the-way and visible from the main route. They need to be out-of-the-way, because you don’t want to hold up traffic when traffic consists of stressed-out, panicky people. They need to be visible, so that you can be seen.
In this area, highways are crossed at fairly regular intervals by County Roads, or Farm-to-Market/Ranch-to-Market roads. Pick FM/RM roads that — as you approach the FM intersection — you can clearly see a hundred yard stretch of the FM road. You should be able to view this hundred-yard-stretch of road both outbound on the evac route, and in-bound, on the return route.
Your rally point should be a location fifty yards more-or-less down the FM road from the evac route.
Why use a road for the rally point? Parking areas and parking lots are going to get crowded during an evacuation. No privacy, and human predators, like all other predators, hunt where prey is plentiful. Plus, most parking areas/parking lots have a limited number of ways in or out, and you are guaranteed to have a bottleneck at the exit.
A road allows you to see people coming, and to watch them during their entire approach. If a problem develops, you have the rest of the FM road to use, or you can put the transmission in ‘D’ and bull your way the short fifty yards to the main route.
Also, fifty yards off the main route gives enough privacy for your party to — one at a time — go “talk to the man about a horse” as they say. A necessary task that most people find nearly impossible in a parking lot. And if I choose to sit in my vehicle with a .357 magnum revolver in my lap and a pump 12 gauge in the side seat, there aren’t going to be strangers wandering about to look in the windows and start getting daft ideas.
Also, any sources for PRACTICAL bug out bag lists?
When prepping for a large/extended family evacuation, Bug-Out Bags aren’t necessarily as important as one might think.
Not that they aren’t important — I have a Bug-Out Bag, and wouldn’t evac without it — but in a large/extended family evacuation there will be other considerations and necessities that simply aren’t covered by the Bug Out Bag.
For instance, if my extended family has to unarse the A.O. and head for High Ground, there are probably going to be multiple small children involved, if not at least one infant.
The Space Blanket and poncho liner in Uncle ‘Dog’s B-O-B are just fine for pretend camping in the living room, but not so much for a bunch of exhausted sprogs over a 72 hour period.
Likewise, note the part about one or more infants. My B-O-B has no provisions for diapers. After 72 hours, one can only imagine how important diapers are going to become.
So. Be sure to bring your Bug Out Bag(s), but for a large/extended family evacuation, bring the minimum amount of stuff that your family needs to get through 72 hours.
The best way to do this, is to mark a normal 72 hour period. During this period keep a meticulous list of everything your family uses or consumes during this time.
After the 72 hours is done, go back over the list and cross off everything that is a luxury. Take a look at what’s left, and cross off everything that you can live without. Now, go back and consolidate the remainder as much as possible. What’s left of the list will give you an idea of what you’re going to need.
As a side-note: Uncle LawDog, Uncle Chris and Uncle Reno drink tanker-loads of Dr. Pepper, tea and coffee every day. We are, to put it mildly, caffeine junkies. The thought of adding caffeine withdrawal to the stress of a natural disaster and accompanying evacuation does not make for peaceful slumber.
Therefore, you can bet your last bippy that there is a box of Vivarin somewhere on that list. Yes, it will keep sleepy drivers awake. It will also keep Uncle LawDog from snapping someones head off because he can’t find a single Dr. Pepper ANYWHERE ON THIS DAMN ROAD? IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR JUST ONE LOUSY CAN …
Ahem. Sorry about that.
While food should be as compact and condensed as possible, bring some foodstuffs that need preparation. Maybe as minor as a loaf of bread and some jars of peanut butter and jelly.
The worst impact — psychologically and emotionally — during a natural disaster is the feeling of helplessness. During a large/extended family evacuation, there are liable to be family or group members who are not able to be an active part of the evacuation.
This is a potent one-two punch: they are helpless in the face of the disaster, and then they are helpless again during the evacuation of family. Bad, bad, bad.
Approaching these family members at an appropriate time with an armload of foodstuffs that need some preparation, while saying something along the lines of:
“I don’t know what to do with this.”
“The children could probably do with a hot meal.”
This gives that family member a chance to do something to help. To aid in the evacuation. To be useful.
This is invaluable in staving off shock.
Hot food tastes pretty good, too.