My first inkling that something is happening in my neighborhood doesn't come from the news. Often it comes from a steady thump-thump-thump noise.
I'm used to that sound passing by and rarely hear it at first. After a few minutes of steady thumping, however, it will penetrate my consciousness, and something inside my head says, "Hey, why is that helicopter hovering over head?"
A half hour later, the reason may be on the news. Broadcast from the Thumping chopper.
But sometimes it's just sirens. I live a couple blocks from about 39 hospitals, near downtown. Sirens are a part of life, and I ignore them as they zip on by. But after a constant drone, or multiple vehicles in several minutes, I get the sense something is going on.
That's when I turn to Seattle's Real Time 911 Dispatch.
Choose the Today button for a live update of where Seattle's fire and aid units are being dispatched. It includes the unit number, type, and address. You can also enter a different day, if you want older data.
The site automatically updates every 60 seconds. You can just leave your browser window open and know where Seattle's firefighters and EMTs are headed.