Oct 4, 2013 10:45 PM by Erin Steuber

Ham Radio Key During Disasters

As most track Karen through social media, others could rely on more traditional means of communication. From the Florida panhandle, to right here in Acadiana, Amateur Radio Emergency Service volunteers are manning their posts. They call themselves "hams," and they can be essential during a storm when cell phone and internet service is out.

It's a form of communication that seems obsolete in this world of modern technology. But radios act as the final line of communication if all else fails during a disaster.

"When cell phones go down, and when the phone lines get so jammed that everybody is calling everyone else to see if it's raining across the street, they can't get each other, but ham radio can reach out," said District Emergency Coordinator Jackie Price.

The Bayouland Emergency Amateur Radio Service, or B.E.A.R.S, operates out of Morgan City, and has been since 1982. The group stays behind during every storm to make sure information is available to those who need it.

"The members that have decided to stay will activate the station. They will stay until the storm is over," said Price.

But what does ham stand for? After all these years, even Price doesn't know, but to her, she says, it means service.

"If somebody else is calling for help than you are going to take that message and do what you can to try and help," said Price. "You never know, we may be the only ones hearing them."

The B.E.A.R.S will be broadcasting on 3.910 until tropical depression Karen leaves the gulf.



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