Our beagle got lose yesterday. I had just finished working on something for the upcoming classes, and looked out the window to see her cross the front yard and start walking up the road. I grab two HTs, run outside, hand one to my wife with an explanation, and start after the dog. After about 20 minutes of no success, we post up an escaped dog message on one of the "[our_town] talks" FB message boards. One of our fellow residents points us to a recent (about 10 minutes old) post on another town talk FB group from a good Samaritan who found our dog. A few text messages later, and we're driving down the road to get our roaming mutt back.
Communications networks need participants to work. While FRS was good for two people coordinating a search for a wandering dog, I could call out a request on any channel until I was blue in the face, and the chances (at present) of getting a reply would be minimal at best. A post to the right FB group however, and we had our dog back in an hour, thanks to two people we didn't know, but were community-minded nevertheless. FB is far from perfect, however. While it has extensive community participation, and is easy to join, it runs on privately-owned third-party equipment, and on an infrastructure that is known to suffer localized failures during a disaster. The solution is to generate increased local participation on a resilient peer-to-peer infrastructure. Fortunately, someone has already started such a thing.
AmRRON/TAPRN has established a system for establishing local communications networks called the CH3 Project. It uses five readily-available radio services. Three require no license (MURS, CB, FRS), one requires a license obtainable by only paying a nominal fee (GMRS), and the other rerquires the entry-level Technician class Amateur Radio License (146.420 MHz. in the 2 meter ham band). Certain locations have already established nets, and there is nothing stopping you and your group from establishing on in your area.