Okmulgee County HAM Radio Operators Ready To Help In Emergencies

Saturday, February 11th 2017, 8:49 pm

Emergency management personnel met with a group of HAM radio operators in Okmulgee on Saturday.

The idea is for the radio operators to use their hobby in the case of a huge emergency, like the wildfires that burned in the county last year.

2/11/2017 Related Story: No Injuries Reported In Okmulgee House Fire

"Started out as a brush pile. and very quickly it encompassed almost 1000 acres, and there were 7 homes and several families that were effected in that fire, " said Mark Conklin, Okmulgee County Emergency Management.

With a burn ban in effect for at least the next two weeks, they're aware of what could happen, but hopeful it won't.

Amateur radio operators like Paul Teel are ready to help if they need to, with any kind of severe weather our area might face this spring.

"Amateur radio is a little bit of the behind-the-scenes thing," Teel said.

When cell towers are down, these guys step in. On Saturday, they met with emergency management to talk about the upcoming severe weather season.  They're able to communicate even when our advanced technology fails.

Teel said, "We're eyes and ears for the emergency managers, law enforcement, fire officials."

"Everybody goes 'oh that's old fashioned, that's older technology.' it's still a continuing and growing hobby," said Mark Conklin, Okmulgee County Emergency Management.

It's a hobby that can save lives. Mark Conklin helped out during Hurricane Katrina.

"We had about 80 amateur radio operators from all over the state come out and help," Conklin said. "And we were there 24 hours a day, for nearly two weeks."

And they'll be ready for whatever Oklahoma weather brings.


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