During an emergency situation such as a hurricane, tornado, terrorist attack or nuclear emergency, access to information and knowing what’s going on around you can save your life. When traditional communication like phone, internet and TV are not available, police scanner radios are a popular way to stay informed. While the type of emergency (tornado vs. nuclear disaster) certainly determines what you’ll listen to, a police scanner will keep you informed with unfiltered, up to the minute information.
The 12 most popular things to listen to on a scanner during an emergency include:
- NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Agency)
- NOAA broadcasts weather and news bulletins keeping you informed about what is happening in your area.
- Local & State Police, Fire & EMS
- Local police, fire and rescue workers are very active during emergencies as they work and coordinate with national emergency services.
- National Guard, Military & State Department
- Security and rescue information and communication
- Ham Radio Operators
- Ham radio operators, or hams, communicate via a 2 way communication system independent of internet or cell towers, and are a great source of news.
- Civilian & Military Aviation
- Aviation communication allows you listen to helicopter & plane rescue and supply information.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency is critical to all emergencies as they coordinate between different agencies, playing a leadership role.
- Coast Guard & Navy
- Depending on where you live, the Coast Guard & Navy may play a large part of emergencies and you can listen to all communication.
- Marine Communication
- Like the Coast Guard & Navy, depending on the emergency and where you live, civilian vessels may play a critical part of an emergency.
- Local Businesses
- Malls and stadiums may be evacuation zones and local businesses, such as construction companies, may help in rescue operations.
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Post emergency, HUD may play a role in rebuilding efforts.
- Red Cross
- Medical information
- Additional Federal Agencies
- Depending on the emergency, agencies including the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Secret Service, Health & Human Services or the Department of Agriculture may be on scene.
Are there more things you would recommend scanning for during an emergency? Please add in the comments.
Luke Huebner is the founder and owner of Zip Scanners which specializes in police scanner radios, scanner antennas & scanner accessories. Zip Scanners hosts a large Scanner Resources & Learning Center to educate consumers about scanners.