The Family Radio Service (FRS) came into being in 1996. It is a set of 14 frequencies in the UHF band and shares channels one through seven with the GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service). FRS is designed to be a low power radio system for family and small business use. The radios advertised power generally puts them at 500 milliwatts which is one half of one watt. These radios are designed with low power and small antennas to reduce interference with each other and other services. For what these radios are designed for, they are excellent. I love these little radios. They are cheap, most are simple to use, and some have what they call PL tones so you can reduce interference from other users though you will probably interfere with them. PL is a Motorola term for Private Line, which means you won’t hear any signal unless they are using the same PL tone. Some advertisers claim these PL tones as extra channels, but you still only get the basic fourteen frequencies. I enjoy using these radios with the family as they are not interested in getting their ham licenses. I always keep several laying around. Preppers definitely should have several of these on hand, and use them. They are an excellent choice for very short range communication.
Of course there are disadvantages to these radios. Their low power and small antennas make them useful only in short range conditions. This could also be an advantage, if you needed to keep safe from others, and didn’t want them to know where you are. They use only fourteen frequencies in one frequency band. There is little security with these radios. I have also had several that were not very high quality and didn’t last that long. Battery life on the rechargeable radios are usually very good, even the ones using AA batteries are not bad.
The range on these radios are realistically half a mile to a mile, of course you can extend the range by being line of sight with the location you are trying to talk to or if you transmit from elevated places like hill or mountain tops. I would suggest the prepper have some of these radios and include them in their communication plan. The niche for these radios is cheap, easy to use, short range communication and in that niche they are an excellent choice.