SWFL amateur radio operators help connect with families in Bahamas

Communication is key after a devastating storm. Families across Southwest Florida are trying to make sure families in the Bahamas are safe. That’s when ham radios come in handy.

Volunteers of the Amateur Radio Association of Southwest Florida responded to the American Red Cross Center in Collier County and worked to get families connected with loved ones.

“We look at our role as communication providers of last resort,” said Larry Kielasa, emergency services coordinator and president of ARASWF.

Kielasa volunteers with about 100 other comrades in Collier County to bring communication to those who are in danger and may need help, all usually after a natural disaster strikes.

“Using radiograms and forms like that,” Kielasa said. “That would provide health and welfare communications for his grandma and grandpa … and that kind of thing.”

And in instances like the Bahamas being inundated after Hurricane Dorian, Kielasa said people there can expect help from those who use radio operation as a hobby.

“We take pride in our ability to do things,” Kielasa said. “We really hope that we don’t get called on to do it, but we try to be ready if we are.”

If you need help locating people in the Bahamas contact the Bahamas Consulate General’s Office at 305-373-6295. Or, head over to the Bahamas Consulate General Miami Facebook page.

Reporter:Jerrica Valtierra
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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