One of the most valuable things in an emergency is real-time information. You can plan and strategize all you want, but up-to-date information could be the most useful tool you have. For any and all emergency situations you’ll want an emergency radio, and for everything else, you’ll want to check out your options for police scanners.Police and fire departments usually have the most current information during an emergency, and you can tap into their radio to find out what’s going on, from a car crash causing a traffic jam to much more grim scenarios such as house fires.If you like to keep up to date with what’s going on around you, including public safety alerts and traffic reports, you could buy a dedicated police scanner, but those can be expensive. Current police scanners could set you back hundreds of dollars. The better option might be a scanner radio siteBroadcastify is a free website that gives you instant access to 5,300 police and fire department scanners, emergency responder feeds, weather radios and more. And these scanners aren’t just local. If you’re so inclined, you can listen to scanners from all over the country, including amateur feeds, too.Broadcastify.com, bills itself as “The world’s largest source of Public Safety, Aircraft, Rail, and Marine Radio Live Audio Streams.” Other feeds come from Wunderground.com, RailroadRadio.net and other local agencies.Scanner information is then uploaded to volunteers’ computers, then translated into app form, where you can listen to wherever you are. If you can’t find any feeds in your area, it means there aren’t any volunteers there yet, but given the size of the networks the data is coming from, you shouldn’t have a problem.You can also add local stations to a favorites list and see the Top 50 list of the most-listened-to stations, which is updated every five minutes. You can also get personalized alerts when lots of people are on a station at once, indicating there might be an emergency. Or, if you want to head to local feeds, you can select the “Near Me” option, search by area, set your favorite stations, or see what current alerts are.
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