Amateur Radio Operators Ready to Serve

KANSAS CITY, Mo. –  Imagine this: a massive earthquake hits near Kansas City, and hundreds of thousands take refuge in the metro.

Those folks would need places to sleep, food to survive and care from medical providers, and to make things worse, the power is out too. Amateur radio operators in the area spent part of Saturday practicing that scenario.

“When all else fails, we’re here.”  That’s the motto of amateur radio operators.

“We’re prepared and we always provide communications in emergencies and when everything else fails the amateurs are up and running.” Jim Bair said. He’s an amateur radio operator with Jackson County ARES.

On Saturday, more than 150 amateur radio operators across the metro met at the Red Cross and community centers, hospitals and churches for an eight county communications exercise.

The scenario?

A New Madrid earthquake of 7-plus on the Richter scale hits, sending thousands to the metro area looking for refuge.

“We’re going to have a quarter-million people coming this way, and what we would do is we would go to the centers and provide emergency communications back to the American Red Cross or the fire department, or the hospitals.” Bair explained.

In a disaster, radio operators would meet at designated places like here at the Red Cross. And they don’t need the lights on, a cell phone even a landline to get out the message.

“We operate on battery power if we need to, so the power being out doesn’t really affect us if the big one happens here we’ll probably lose cell phone communication and land line communication so ‘the hams’ are always ready for this,” said Larry Widener, who is also an amateur radio operator.

It’s a hobby for most, but these folks are ready to serve if they’re needed.

Click here for more on the Jackson County amateur radio operators in this story.

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