GMRS and FRS Radio in Western Washington
GMRS: General Mobile Radio Service
FRS: Family Radio Service
While neither of these services is actually part of Amateur Radio, they definitely belong in a list of Available Tools for Emergency Communications and Preparedness.
The Seattle Emergency Community Hubs use GMRS Radios for their drills, practices, and events, and there are GMRS "Nets" every Monday evening in Seattle (the first 4 Mondays of the month, technically...), using the 4 established GMRS repeaters in Seattle.
(Yes, Ham Operators still need to obtain a GMRS License, to use GMRS Radios)
[Monday Night GMRS and Ham Nets in Seattle]
GMRS requires an inexpensive license from the FCC (approx. $70 for 10 years), which an entire household gets to use. No classes, no test to pass, and good Repeater-Capable "handie-talkies" are available for $60 or so.
[Search "Google Shopping" for GMRS Repeater-Capable Radios]
[How to Obtain your GMRS License Quickly]
FRS requires no license at all.
What's the difference? GMRS licensees can use more powerful radios, they can add larger antennas to their radios, and, most importantly, they can use Repeaters, to greatly increase their effective communications range, just as Amateurs, First Responders, and many Mobile Businesses, such as Taxis, Delivery Fleets, Buses, Plumbers and more.
[GMRS Handout for Seattle Hubs]
What is GMRS? [GMRS on Wikipedia]
What is FRS? [FRS on Wikipedia]
[Here is a $60 GMRS repeater-compatible Walkie-Talkie from BTech Radios.]
Suggestion: Buy at least 2 of these, for you and your family, to learn with.
[A more powerful Mobile/Base Station radio]
[Here is how you purchase an inexpensive ($70 for 10 years!) GMRS license], from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), which your entire household can share