My old GRECOM PSR-800 is a digital radio receiver that can automatically tune, or scan, hundreds or more discrete frequencies, stopping when it finds a signal on one of them and then continuing to scan other frequencies when the initial transmission ceases.
This scanner is particularly handy during tornado season. It's also nice to have when there is a lot of siren activity nearby. My first precept for personal and family safety has always been situational awareness. Know what's going on around you and your home.
My mother used to always have a scanner on at her home and when the local municipalities converted from analog to digital, her scanner quit working. She asked me to find a digital model that would work with their new trunking system. I first bought this handheld scanner for her, but she didn't like it. So I found a desktop model that suited her and I brought this one home.
This model will plug into my computer and I can update the firmware, software and channel list via the internet. This is a "must have" item for your survival kit. Be prepared for natural disasters and any other emergency situation. Expect to pay around $500 for a good digital scanner.
We have snow today, which is an unusual event where I live. But it's what brought my attention to the scanner. It's a great way to quickly learn which roads are not safe to travel in times like this.