Inexpensive technology is changing the way we get our news in more ways than one. Many do not know that stringers are a big source of news especially at night after the regular reporters have gone to bed. For those who want instant news all over the city you live in, find out if you have a stringer. Sometimes you'll have the news right from the stinger as it is happening. Want to know what that siren was for? 

What is a stringer? They traditionally were independent newsmen who sold stories to newspapers and news stations. Today these are technology geeks who because of available low cost technology are able to gather and report news as it is happening. At one time this was only possible by big organizations with lots of resources and money to invest in the expensive equipment. 

Stringers have scanners that they use to constantly monitor emergency situations and calls to the police or fire department. They then will go to the scene and may tweet or post in real time what is happening. Many communities have these stringers.

For instance, in Sheboygan there are several of them who cover different times of the day or night. We have gotten permission from a local stringer to use his information to tie in with being a Prepared Frugal Prosumer. He goes by the handle Night Scanner.  You can follow him here: or on FaceBook  at get updates as they are happening. We will be taking some of these calls and talk about what one could do to be prepared if this happened to you.

Please note if you see one of these stringers doing his stringer work, and you want to talk to them,  wait until after the event is over. They are serious about their job and don't need  interference when they are working.

Public safety officials agree that in the event of an emergency disaster, you are likely to be on your own for up to 72-hours or longer without help! Will you be ready to deal with the aftermath of a large-scale devastating event? 

Why you might want to find your own local stringer/scanner guy?

There are many people who have their own police scanners so they can know what is going on in their town and to know where that siren is going. For most of us we don't have the time, equipment, or knowledge to understand 10 code talk so that's where a scanner person who tweets emergency calls can do much of the work for you.

Why in the world listen to a scanner?

increase your personal safety by neighborhood crime awareness.

  • Do You Know How Safe Your Neighborhood Is? You would be surprised to learn about the number of things that occur every day right in your own neighborhood that you never hear about.
  • With a police scanner you can stay on top of these types of events that occur in your neighborhood because you’ll know exactly where, when, and how they occur. 
  • Get a firsthand insight as to what cops have to deal with day-in and day-out and gain a new understanding of why they really are our heroes!
  • In times of natural disasters, major emergencies, dangerous police activity, or major accidents or mishaps it can be vital for immediate and up to date local information that you can't get from a news service.

Making Your Neighborhood Safer is an important part of emergency preparedness.

  • A scanner can help you in making your neighborhood safer by acting as an extra set of eyes and ears for local police. A one-man neighborhood watch operation!
  • Communities in which citizens observed and reported suspicious activity have lower crime rates. Citizens with scanners can be a valuable resource for the police department. They can help just keep their eyes and ears open for anything unusual like a vehicle speeding away from the area or maybe an unknown vehicle driving up and down your street as if "casing the neighborhood". 


It can be fun, exciting, and a pastime

  • Many people, especially those who work in emergency, just make a habit of listening to the scanner.
  • For some it's an exciting hobby, some just curiosity, and for a few an obsession.
  • Know what is really happening in your neighborhood  not just what the news media decides to report or not report.

The importance of having current and correct news

In being prepared, planning for the future, and surviving a crisis, accurate information and news is vital to making a decision. Because of the internet and technology this information and news has never been so readily available to everyone. The problem is there is so much of it and so many people with different agendas manipulating it to their advantage that it may never have been harder to determine the truth.

Remember news channels, radio, newspapers, magazines, and yes even google does not report news out of charity. The whole purpose is to get you to read or listen to their ads. This means that everything they do has to keep their advertisers happy. Add to the mix  personal prejudices, political and religious views, government pressure, and personal ambitions and you have something toxic. Belly aching and protests  about this is not going to make much of a difference. Just understand this is the way it is. Your job is to know that and navigate accordingly or even use it to your advantage if you're so inclined. Never loose sight that the people who have control or influence over the news means they can manipulate it to their advantage. 

Why do people not evacuate in front of a storm that is going to kill them? Or unnecessarily evacuate and then have their place ransacked? Or why do people go on strike only to see the company go bankrupt and shut down? Or they go in debt for school, house, or things only to find out there is no job or due to the economy their income is reduced, and etc. Could it be because the news and information they read misleads them?

Stringers (or even just listening to the scanner yourself) can be an important news source for what is really happening in a community. 

AuthorJohn Johnston