Amateur radio operators practice earthquake drills - KCTV5 News

Amateur radio operators practice earthquake drills

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A natural disaster could deplete communication capabilities, and that's why more than 150 amateur radio operators are learning what to do in case that ever happens in Kansas City.

Officials at the American Red Cross headquarters in Kansas City spent Saturday preparing for a large earthquake scenario. They estimate that if a magnitude 7 earthquake hit Missouri, up to a quarter million people would flock to Kansas City for refuge.

The extra people and the damage from an earthquake that strong would no doubt take a big chunk of communication away, which is where amateur ham radio operators come in. The Red Cross would rely on the radio operators for communication between shelters and hospitals.

"When major communications fail, as in any disaster such as Katrina or Joplin, ham radio operators, due to their nature always being prepared with existent power and things like that, we can go in and operate when the other services cannot," said Jim Blair with Jackson County Amateur Radio Emergency Service.

The drill includes 150 people at many different metro locations and wrapped up about 2 p.m. Saturday.

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