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MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — Life in the digital age is filled with the World Wide Web, which is why some first responders wanted to re-wire their ham radio skills Friday.

In order to continue communicating if the Internet fell victim to a mass cyber attack, agencies from across Tennessee would turn to radio.

“We can actually send email and attachments, video and what-not via ham radio without ever using Internet,” said Mike Winslow, risk manager for Madison County.

First responders would use ham radio frequencies to email, send pictures and messages if traditional email were gone.

“Their contacts can be in the emergency ops center, utilizing their emails as they would on a daily basis,” said Jimmy Floyd, operations manager for the Jackson-Madison County Emergency Management Agency.

The system in Madison County works via software installed on a laptop. That can send messages to a radio in another part of the country.

“The software can send the digital information via radio waves to another station with similar equipment and then be able to pull it up on the screen and print it out,” Winslow said.

Floyd says this system allows other emergency and government agencies to request supplies or equipment during an Internet-less disaster.

Officials say even a solar flare can cause Internet loss.

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