The State Emergency Response Team (SERT) is requesting licensed amateur radio operators to help with the response to Hurricane Irma. SERT will feed and shelter any volunteers.

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) states its members – amateur radio enthusiasts known as ham radio operators - are ready to help, pointing to the historically large role ham operators have played in disaster response, from monitoring and reporting on storms to providing a method of communication when other methods are down.

"When normal communications systems are not available, amateur stations may make transmissions necessary to provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property,” the FCC says.

Kat Eschner of Smithsonian.com writes that in the case of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in late August 2005, ham operators managed to quickly get on line and begin relaying calls for help. Hams “monitored distress calls and rerouted emergency requests for assistance throughout the U.S. until messages were received by emergency response personnel."

If you are a licensed ham radio operator and would like to volunteer your services, call volunteer coordinator Phil Royce at 850-284-6940.