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Amateur radio proven valuable during natural disasters

When natural disasters force modern day forms of communication out of order, amateur radio has proven to be valuable during times of crisis.
When natural disasters force modern day forms of communication out of order, amateur radio has proven to be valuable during times of crisis.

When disaster strikes, modern day technologies and forms of communication – cell phones, the Internet, television – sometimes break down, leaving individuals in the dark and isolated. However, a form of backup communication has emerged in amateur radio, and has proven itself invaluable.

As reported by Missouri-base KY3 News, amateur radio proved its worth after the Joplin tornado in 2011. Users implemented their voices, keywords and even Morse code through the radio waves.

Don Rogers, an operator of the technology, said that there's always something to do with the hobby, and it gives him the opportunity to speak with people all over the world.

Last weekend in Springfield, Ham Radio operators set up at the American Red Cross – running on solar and battery power – to share their knowledge.

"It's exciting, the growth," said Patti Flowers-Palmer of the Southwest Missouri Amateur Radio Club. "Right now, there's over 750,000 amateur radio operators in the U.S. alone, and that number is growing."

In addition, the event served as an emergency preparedness drill, with operators explaining how amateur radio can be used to set up and provide communications when the regular systems are down. For example, Flowers-Palmer and other Ham Radio operators replaced phone and internet communications during the Joplin tornado, as no other forms were available.

Flowers-Palmer recalled to the news source how she set herself and her radio up outside an emergency room, aiding in hospital communications. Other radio operators assisted in search and rescue efforts.

During natural disasters, the unexpected can happen, including a sudden loss of communication. In addition to preparing with backup means to stay in touch with employees, companies would benefit from ensuring they have a current business continuity plan in place and a practical hot site designated for workers. This way, individuals will be educated on all aspects to ensure that the business stays afloat through any situation.