If disaster strikes, emergency officials say we will likely be reliant on a growing network of amateur radio operators.

Mark Sheppard with the Seattle Department of Emergency Management says we've learned a lot since the Nisqually Earthquake in 2001. And today, the backup communication system is much more robust.

"It's not just the radio, it’s the people," he said. "We have a team of people who have been through emergency preparedness training and learned how to communicate in emergencies under pressure."

In addition to owning an emergency radio in your survival kit, Sheppard also recommends you locate your nearest community gathering place in the event of an emergency.

In Seattle, a network of 135 Emergency Community Hubs has been established where people can gather and share information. An estimated 30 HAM radio operators are also assigned to these hubs throughout the city and further.