Prepare Yourself & Family

Steps to Home Preparedness



You never know when a disaster will strike. Put a flashlight, leather gloves, sturdy shoes, and a P95 dust mask under all the beds in your household today. (P95 masks filter out smoke and are highly petroleum-resistant, ex. burning plastic.) Print out a copy of First Steps so that you have on hand a guideline of things to do following a major earthquake along with the OK/Help sign. Store handouts under your bed.

Remember to test the flashlight batteries. Attach two band-aids to the OK/Help sign that can be used as tape in an emergency.

Time commitment: 30-45 minutes

In a disaster, one of the first things you’ll want to do is make sure that your loved ones are okay and that you have a plan to reconnect. Make a copy of this form. Fill it in as a household. Print out a copy for each person. Here is a helpful checklist from FEMA to help you make your plan.

The 10-minute evacuation plan is a list of things to grab if you need to leave in a hurry. Thinking about what you value is highly personal. It could be something of monetary value like a computer or a sentimental item. Here is a Fire Evacuation Checklist that you may want to print out. Put it with your First Steps handout. 

Time commitment: 30-45 minutes

It is unlikely that you will have access to safe drinking water from the taps after a major earthquake. Staying hydrated is essential. Go through your house and look for things that you have in your house that will keep you hydrated, such as liquids in canned food and ice cubes. Hot water heaters often have 35-50 gallons. Make sure if your water heated is secured to prevent movement in an earthquake. Having extra water on hand is a must. It’s recommended to have a minimum of one gallon per person for at least two weeks.If you have a beverage cooler, keep it filled. If you can afford buying a large water container, do it! Sporting stores often carry 5-7 gallon container or order a 50-gallon barrel on-line. If you have live close to a stream or you will need to be on the move, having a portable water filter like a LifeStraw is a good investment.

Time commitment: Variable

Further reading: Water Purification 



A go bag is a bag that is packed with about 3 days worth of supplies to take care of your basic needs. Everyone in your house that is old enough to have a backpack should have his/her own go bag including a 2-way radio (FRS/GMRS or Ham radio). Here is a list of things you can include.

Time commitment: 2-3 hours

Further reading: Build a Kit, includes information on kits for people with special needs and pets

It’s important to have basic first aid supplies on hand for both home emergencies and disasters. If you have a car, have a first aid kit in your vehicle. .

Get more water! Get friends and family to get water. Have water and work and in your car.


Use this document to help you organize important papers and securely save them on a flash drive. 

Getting Your GMRS License

General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a land-mobile UHF radio service in the United States, near 462 and 467 MHz. GMRS shares the same frequencies with the Family Radio Service (FRS), however output power is limited to 0.5 or 2 watts on FRS, depending on the channel.


A license is required to operate on the GMRS band, and the licensee is allowed up to 5 or 50 watts of output power (also depending on the channel).


A GMRS license also grants permission to operate on the repeater input frequencies. Both the increased output power and the repeater access granted by a GMRS license can dramatically increase the effective range a GMRS radio has over a FRS radio. Because they share the same frequencies, GMRS radios are allowed to communicate with FRS radios via simplex.


To obtain a GMRS license and call sign, you must file an application with the FCC and pay a $35 fee. No exam is required, and the license is valid for 10 years. The FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS) is is an online portal to manage your FCC applications/licenses, and pay any applicable fees via a single account. The ULS eliminates the need for paper applications and submitting via snail mail. You may also view the status of pending licenses in the ULS. Once registered with the ULS, you will receive an FCC Registration Number (FRN). This is a 10-digit number that is assigned to a business or individual registering with the FCC, and is used to identify the registrant’s business dealings with the FCC. Save this ID number! It will be your user name to log in to the Universal Licensing System.


Before continuing, there is one very important consideration that should be noted when dealing with FCC licenses. Your call sign and license information is public information and is easily searchable in FCC databases and other 3rd party records. Should you choose to register with your home address, this will be visible to anybody if they have your call sign. Exposing personal information on the internet is a concern now more than ever, so one approach to limiting the amount of personal information in FCC databases is to use a P.O. Box as your contact address.

If you are a first time user, create a new ULS account here (skip this step if you have an existing ULS account). Select “Register” to be issued a new FCC Registration Number:

Some questions are asked before proceeding, then you can fill out an application with your name, address, password, etc:



After creating the account, or if you have an existing ULS account, log in here.


Once you are logged in, you will be taken to this screen which shows your current and applied for licenses:


Now you can apply for a GMRS license and pay the fee. On the left hand side menu click “Apply for a New License.”



On the next screen, select “ZA-General Mobile Radio Service” from the very bottom of the drop down menu and click Continue.



Click continue after these questions, and on the next screen supply the licensee name and address:



Once this is complete, click Continue. The next step is to answer the following question, then click Continue again:



The next step will show you a summary of the application. Verify all the information supplied is correct, and click “Continue to Certify.”




When you submit the application, you will be prompted to complete payment. After that, all you can do is wait! Applications will appear in ULS Application Search in about one or two businesses days after the application is filed. If you made an error in the application – don’t worry! You can file an amendment to the application. See the Applying for a New License in the Universal Licensing System FAQ for more information about the application process for FCC licenses.


Check back to the Universal Licensing System daily, and when you see the call sign under “My Licenses” you are ready to get on the air! To download or print a paper copy of the license authorization, click Download Electronic Authorizations:



Select your GMRS call sign from the “Filter by Radio Service” box and add it to the “Authorizations to Download” box then click Download:



The GMRS Authorization looks like this:


Congratulations, you are now licensed to use GMRS!  Now, you can join our group.

These instructions were originally posted here:

Here’s a great overview video showing how simple it really is to apply for your GMRS license, in less than 10 minutes!