Hurricanes can blow down cell phone towers, broadcast antennas and take out power. That's where the skills of ham radio operators come in.
This weekend, the community was given the chance to meet local radio operators and learn about amateur radio operations at the Bay County Emergency Pperations Center in Southport.
The operators, called "hams" showed the public how it all works as well as how to become a licensed amateur radio operator.
When communication infrastructure is lost, amateur radio operators are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications as was evident in the recent Alabama and Missouri tornado disasters.
"In those situations, normal communications is pretty much out. So, amateur radio can be on the scene quickly and they also fit in to support the Red Cross," said Greg Lane with the Panama City Amateur Radio Club.
Despite their value, emergency coordinators say not enough people are involved.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a ham radio operator, you can log onto www.emergency-radio.org.