Small neighborhoods, like a single block, can organize to communicate better in an emergency. Here is a strategy for equipping neighbors with economical walkie-talkies.
The last disaster on our street was a house fire, late at night. We heard shouting in the distance, but it was a while before we understood what was going on. We didn't want to run outside before we understood what was happening, fearing that there was some sort of altercation that would be better avoided. Walkie talkies would have been useful just to ask our own neighbors "what's going on?" There are many inexpensive walkie talkies that use the "FRS" or "Family Radio Service" frequencies. These can be used for short-range communications.
For those of you who don't have an FRS walkie
talkie, I am recommending these ones:http://www.amazon.com/Cobra-CXR925-35-Mile-22-Channel-Two-Way/dp/B0035PMH1W/
Or a bit smaller and $10 less:http://www.amazon.com/Cobra-microTalk-CXR725-27-Mile-22-Channel/dp/B00365E1GA/
There are many similar ones that would work fine. My family has had this
kind for several years, and they're good. They have lithium
rechargeable batteries that last a long time. They can be left in
the charger base until you need them, and then they will be ready
for a few days use. Disregard the "35 miles" claims, they all have
the same range and will cover our block and not much more. Replacement batteries are available for only a few dollars, on eBay.Set them to channel 1, with no "privacy code"
, plug in the charger
stand somewhere near your front door so that you can get them if
leaving in a hurry, and everyone in the neighborhood will be able to talk to each other
if there's reason to do so.
A special license won't be necessary.
Finally a humorous guide to disaster preparedness, from those wild
and crazy guys at the Federal Government:http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/_media/cymkPrint/11_225700_A_Zombie_Final.pdf