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Letter: Emergency Response in Maui Fires Highlights Radio’s Importance

Engineer Ron Schadt says people have become way too reliant on cell phones

In this letter to the editor, the author comments on radio’s role in emergency management in relation to this article from CBS about the recent devastation on Maui. Comment on this or any article. Email [email protected].

An interesting story from CBS News about the fires in Maui. If you read through it, nothing worked. Sirens didn’t work, cell phones were sketchy or not working at all, no electricity, etc. etc. If you read through the entire story, near the end is one line: “Emergency management had to resort to radio to communicate with the victims of the fires.”

Well, well, interesting that what we have been saying all along is really true, the oldest form of contacting people is still the most reliable and unfortunately, because people are so attached to their stupid phones, radio has to be “resorted to.” This little section of this article needs to get to these senators and congressmen who are on this AM in every car movement.

An aerial photo of a portion of devastated Lāhainā on Maui. (Courtesy of the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources)

[Read more stories about the future of AM radio in cars]

Again, [only] brain-dead people who don’t believe in radio think cell phones are the answer to everything. I am overjoyed when cellphone networks crash and people realize they are not as good as they expected even though, once the cell phones are up again, radio will go back to being ignored. When we first started out here, the emergency manager had a drill of a fake tornado going through the middle of town.

We have two of everything [where I work in South Dakota] — towers, transmitters, generators, studios, microwave links — so we will stay on the air. Finally people are indeed starting to realize that we are there when the cell service here has gone down. People have become way too reliant on cell phones.

It’s not the physical phones, it’s the way they have taken over and brainwashed people into doing nothing else but spending 99% of their time with them. I have one, its a plain old flip phone. It comes out of my pocket if someone calls me, otherwise just to charge it once or twice a week. If I need to call someone, I use a land line, they are so much more reliable and sound so much better.

Mine used to give me severe weather alerts but they were about 20 minutes after our AM station had them on the air, and usually after the severe event passed.

—  Ron Schadt, Radio Engineer, Redfield, S.D.

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