As Hurricane Harvey approached the Texas coastline, people were ready. Emergency responders, residents, utility companies, and municipal leaders were all hunkered down and ready to ride out the storm. But another group was also prepared and ready to go – a veritable army of amateur radio operators (AKA ham radio operators).
How Ham Radio Helped During Hurricane Harvey
Communicating during Hurricane Harvey was difficult. Between the massive number of outages and the submerging of critical communications infrastructure, traditional forms of communication were not readily and reliably available. This is where ham radio operators helped save the day, as they are able to transmit over airwaves and frequencies largely unaffected by infrastructure failures.
The amateur radio operators monitored and communicated storm updates, relayed emergency calls to first responders, and helped people acquire lifesaving resources. They served a similar function during Hurricane Katrina. For more information on how these amateur radio operators served their communities during these and other large-scale disasters, click here.
No Longer Just a Hobby
I have blogged about ham radio previously, and since then the community has grown by leaps and bounds. For many of these enthusiasts, it’s more than just a hobby – these people are truly saving lives. This is why operators are now eligible for government financial assistance, and why there are now over 735k licensed operators in the U.S., according to the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).
As an emergency preparedness professional, I applaud the efforts of these unsung heroes. T he assistance they offered during Hurricane Harvey is only the most recent of many examples. With the emergence of increasingly volatile weather patterns thanks to climate change, the more people can band together and help during times of need, the better off everyone will be.