The Family Radio Service (FRS) has short range communication and can be used by neighborhoods and communities during an emergency. Cellular phone networks can become overloaded, as was the case during September 11th and the Mid Atlantic earthquake in 2011.
CERT teams conducting search and rescue operations, following a disaster emergency, monitor FRS Channel 1 for local distress calls. It is recommended that FRS Channel 1 be used as a “family calling” channel. Each FRS radio will have Channel 1 set to the same frequency. In addition, every FRS radio has at least the first 14 channels. Become familiar with how your particular FRS radio works.
If FRS is to be used in an emergency, everyone must Disable Call Tones! Otherwise, a rescuer could hear you calling for help, but may not be able to respond back to you, or may not be able to hear your calls at all. Setting the Call Tone setting to 0 should disable the call tone feature. Consult your FRS radio manual for details.
Neighborhood Watch Groups should coordinate communication within the neighborhood on other channels and then communicate emergency information on Channel 1 to emergency personnel.