He hadn’t planned on being the club’s guest speaker Monday, but then George Shields hadn’t planned on being an amateur radio operator until his high school physics teacher suggested it.
Sometimes, things just happen.
And when the unexpected happens — like a flood, tornado, severe storm that disrupts normal communication venues — amateur radio operators, like Shields, step in and hit the airwaves.
After his planned speaker was called out of town, Shields, who was responsible for planning Monday’s program at the weekly Kiwanis program, took the podium and explained his longtime hobby as an amateur radio operator.
“We volunteer in emergency when normal communication is out,” Shields said — a situation for which he and his fellow 30 plus operators in the area practice two or more times each year.
Recently, such an emergency drill was held. Shields said the drill involved a massive tornado hitting Keokuk, interrupting the conventional means of communication. The local amateur operators had to relay information regarding the extent and number of injuries to Keokuk and Fort Madison hospitals and help emergency personnel get messages to each other.
Article source: http://www.dailydem.com/articles/2012/05/08/news/news4.txt