Get Yourself a Scanner!

So a few things here, not the lest of them is leading off from the dreadful shooting in Las Vegas, and the aftermath of the storms that have hit Puerto Rico.  So in my line of work I’ve had the opportunity to develop a healthy respect for situational awareness.  If you’ve never used a Scanner of any type and are unfamiliar with how they work trust me you can figure it out, read the directions and go to some of the forums out there.  I will never be able to do justice to the combined amount of knowledge on the internet.

What I can do is explain why I say, “Get Yourself a Scanner”.  Situational Awareness… what I mean by that is there is a large amount of information relayed over unsecured radio waves (meaning not “encrypted” to prevent unwanted listeners).  That’s an issue you really won’t have to worry about unless you are trying to listen to military transmissions… which lets be honest that’s probably the least likely… but with the right scanner you can listen to trunked mobile that most Fire Departments, Police, Taxi, Bus, Air Traffic etc. (civilian infrastructure) will use the Whistler WS 1040 is the same model that I use even when I’m driving in the car to listen for Taxi and bus drivers talking about traffic, listen for emergency services who may be on the way to a crash that would impact my commute, etc.

Now the important key for using a scanner is having a “signal of interest list” which is actually relatively easy, most modern models allow you to connect to a laptop and import exactly what your area is and add in the frequency and commercial “codes” that are being used in your area.  Once that is all programmed in you may miss some, but you’ve essentially just loaded the original crowd sourced traffic alerts.  Who can tell you more about what’s going on than the bus drivers and the taxi drivers.

The plus side to all of this is that if you build the habit of listening with a purpose (avoiding traffic) you will build the habits you need to listen for danger should the world go to H in a Handbasket.