SKIATOOK, Okla. - Local ham radio operators are on standby, ready to relay messages to and from the Gulf Coast.
In Louisiana, thousands of residents are without power. Soon ham radio operators may be the ones getting messages out to loved ones from the storm zone.
They're often a backup when communications like cell phones go down. In emergencies, operators work hand-in-hand with agencies like the Red Cross to keep communication flowing.
Ben Joplin, of Skiatook, has checked in with a few operators from Louisiana.
"For those ham radio operators, I'm WB5VST," he said.
Joplin's offered to help radio messages from Louisiana to the Oklahoma area. But he's also ready to go help the Red Cross on scene if he gets the call.
"We're all self-trained, we're all ready. We could deploy in minutes. And you can't turn us off," Joplin said.
Joplin says in emergencies, all of the training and practice is worth it.
"We can get the message around, convoluted as it is sometimes, but we can get the message into places where there's nothing else," he said.
Ham radio operators are also keeping an eye on how Isaac will affect Oklahoma when it moves inland.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Also in the headlines
In the wake of deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma we investigate which safe rooms are actually safest and the guidelines that must be followed to give your family near absolute protection.