FRS/GMRS/HAM, Zello Information


  • Local ~1 mile communications between neighbors
  • Also used for our callout teams to communicate back to local staging areas.
  • Does not require an FCC license, anyone can use
  • Interoperable between brands, Motorola, Midland, Retevis, Rivins, Samcom, Baofeng
  • Limited to 22 primary channels at ~0.5 watts up to 5 watts
  • Each channel can each be divided into sub-channels with “PL” Tones.

HAM Radios

  • Longer-range, city-wide communications between staging areas
  • Able to communicate with Emergency Services.
  • Requires FCC License to operate
  • Operate in the UHF/VHF range
  • Can be used with repeaters to extend signal/range


  • App that relies on cellular and internet communications
  • Available on iOS, Android and Windows
  • When available these offer a great opportunity for an unlimited range of communication
  • Used for both practice and emergency needs.

Radio Recommendation for Disaster Preparedness 2022

After exhaustive research, the NTP program has made FRS Radio recommendations for neighbors and councils to purchase equipment as part of disaster preparedness. We tested about twelve different radios for range, durability, ease of use, battery life, features, availability, and more. Here are our recommendations for low and high-cost options. All FRS radios are able to communicate with each other regardless of brand.

Motorola T200

Cost-Effective Solution

$40 for 2 Pack
Batteries: 3x AA or Rechargable 800 mAh NIMH Battery Pack Channels: 22 FRS/GMRS
Range: 0.5 – 1 Miles
Warranty: 1 Year
Charging via USB Micro Port


  • Easy to use
  • Illuminated Screen
  • Weather Channels, Weather Proof
  • Headset accessory optional sold separately

Available: Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Lowes, B&H, Home Depot

Midland GXT1000

Higer Cost Solution

$40 for 2 Pack
Batteries: 3x AA or Rechargable 800 mAh NIMH Battery Pack Channels: 22

$70 for 2 Pack
Batteries: 4x AA or Rechargable 1300 mAh NIMH Battery Pack Channels: 22 FRS/GMRS
Range: 0.5 – 2 Miles or more depending on terrain
Warranty: 3 Year
Charging via Base Unit


  • Longer Range and Battery Life
  • Illuminated Screen, VOX Option, Vibrate Option
  • Weather Channels, Weather Proof
  • Headset Included

Available: Amazon, Best Buy, REI, Lowes, B&H, Office Depot

Download this as a PDF

Communications Plan

In the event of a disaster, this is an outline of the protocol for communication

  1. Check for your own safety and the safety of your immediate family or friends
  2. Monitor your local neighborhood FRS or repeater channel, check-in when you can.
    1. Situational Awareness is Critical: Listen to hear how bad things are
    2. Report your status:
      1. Building damage
      2. Injuries
  3. Wear long pants and closed toed shoes
    1. CERT vest, helmet, goggles, N95 mask, and gloves strongly recommended
    2. Additional CERT gear based on training
  4. Determine if you will deploy to Staging Area, based on the radio reports and damage assessment
    1. If deploying:
      1. Radio to other team members that you are self-dispatching
      2. If you have CERT trained neighbors, deploy in pairs
      3. Observe and report via radio any incidents on your way in
        1. Document on CERT Form 1 or a notebook
    2. If not deploying:
      1. Continue monitoring local channel
      2. Be ready to deploy in case if the situation gets worse