What news or data do you check every day? Most of us are interested in immediate information updates on certain topics. Perhaps that’s dangerous storms predicted for your area, or alerts about new malware threats on the web.
Manually visiting websites to check for updates is a waste of time. Especially when technology can deliver notifications directly to your phone and computer.
We’re going to show you a simple process to receive an instant notification on all your devices the moment any data or website gets updated.
Step 1: Collect Your RSS Feeds
If you’re not sure what emergency events you want to receive notifications for, we’ve included a list of RSS feeds below that will get you started.
In my example, I’m going to use the RSOE EDIS global disaster alert system. This is a popular site that features a large map of major recent emergencies across the world.
This is a system developed by The National Association of Radio Distress-Signalling and Infocommunications (RSOE), which it has termed the “Emergency and Disaster Information Service (EDIS).”
The service monitors information from domestic and foreign government and news sources to identify quickly when there’s a major emergency event in the world. For a journalist, or anyone who’s interested in breaking emergency news, it’s a great resource.
And luckily, it offers RSS feeds, perfect for our use.
Step 2: Set Up Pushbullet
There are plenty of mobile RSS reader apps that notify you when feeds have new updates. You’ll find tons of desktop-based RSS reader apps as well. However, if you don’t want to be limited to just your smartphone, then Pushbullet is the best solution.
Pushbullet lets you set up your phone or computer to receive notifications from a variety of sources. At a minimum, you’ll want to set up Pushbullet on your phone and the computers you use. It’s as simple as downloading the app and creating an account.
Just make sure to register with Pushbullet using the same account on all devices. Have a look at our introduction to Pushbullet for help getting started.
Step 3: Link IFTTT and Pushbullet
If you haven’t signed up for IFTTT yet, you’ll want to do that now. Next, you must connect your Pushbullet account to your IFTTT account.
To do this, click on the Search box at the top of the page. Search for Pushbullet, and swap to the Services tab on the right. Then click on the Pushbullet service.
Finally, click the Connect button to link the two accounts.
You’ll need to grant IFTTT access to your Pushbullet account. Once you do, you’re ready to proceed with creating an applet.
Step 4: Create an Alert Applet in IFTTT
Applets are the core of IFTTT. They let you create instructions that link two services. Here, you can combine your RSS feed and Pushbullet notifications.
To start, click on the My Applets link at the top of IFTTT, then select the New Applet button.
For This (the trigger), you’ll want to use the RSS Feed option. Search for “RSS” and click on the RSS Feed box. Then choose New feed item.
In the Feed URL field, paste the RSS URL from link you saved earlier. In our example, it’s the RSS feed from the RSOE EDIS system.
Once you’ve created the RSS feed trigger, click on That (action). Search for “Pushbullet” and select it from the results.
Choose the Push a note action. On the next page, you have the ability to customize the notification Title and Message based on “ingredients” from the incoming RSS feed information.
As you can see, there’s a lot of useful information from the incoming feed you can use to customize notifications. In this example, we’ll make the title the FeedTitle and EntryTitle, and then build the Message using EntryContent and EntryUrl.
This is what the final Pushbullet IFTTT action looks like:
Now, when a new global emergency takes place and shows up inside the RSOE EDIS system, you’ll receive an instant notification on your phone. When you view the notification in Pushbullet on your phone or computer, here’s what it looks like:
This is just a small portion of what you can accomplish with IFTTT. Check out our full guide to IFTTT for more.
Some Emergency RSS Feeds You Can Tap Into
Now that you can receive instant push notifications for feed updates, all you have to do is choose from the large menu of events you want updates on.
The following are some of the largest and most frequently updated government, nonprofit, and private resources you can sign up for. They’ll help you stay on top of the latest breaking events in areas you’re most interested in:
- FEMA Emergency Data Feeds: Find out the moment FEMA has announced an emergency situation somewhere in the US.
- RSOE Global Emergencies: This is the RSOE EDIS global alert system used in the example above.
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC): Offers feeds with the latest food safety alerts, disease outbreaks, and more.
- National Weather Service: Provides feeds for extreme weather such as weather warnings by state, severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings, and hurricane warnings.
- Department of Homeland Security: Get instant alerts for any threats to the country from terrorism or other sources.
- Department of State: This page has lots of RSS feeds; one important one is the Travel Advisories RSS feed.
Stay Up-to-Date on Emergency Alerts
Signing up to receive instant notifications from any of these emergency services will keep you well aware of the latest breaking news. This could be around the world or in your local area. You might even learn about incoming emergency events long before they show up on the news.
The idea that RSS is an outdated technology is definitely false. But it’s not a stretch to say that you don’t even need a feed reader anymore. Look into aggregating your own news automatically for more awesome ways to use RSS.