Most of you have seen the little FRS (Family Radio Service) walkie-talkie style radios that are now sold almost everywhere. These inexpensive half-watt gems are fun for kids and somewhat useful for adults. Some businesses issue them to store maintenance and security employees. Range is limited.
The National SOS Radio Network is an all-volunteer organization encouraging people to make FRS radios part of their emergency kits, and encourages development of neighborhood networks. It recognizes that during some emergencies, both wired and wireless phone systems can fail, leaving people no way to communicate.
The FRS radios don’t require any license, the somewhat more expensive and more powerful GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) radios and hybrids do. FRS radios and GMRS radios share channels 1 – 7, channels 8 – 14 are for FRS half-watt use, and channels 15 – 22 are for GMRS radio use.
Channel-1 is suggested for use as the FRS emergency channel, but it is has no true legal restriction. Channel-20 is considered the GMRS emergency channel, but here again there is no official rule. Beware, I doubt that anyone within range of you will be monitoring these channels unless there is some sort of regional disaster underway. If you want to use these for emergencies you may encounter while hunting or hiking, make sure you have a friend or family member listening and within range.