Live police & fire scanner

    What am I listening to?

    The scanner is programmed to receive a variety of dispatch and operations channels for both the Seattle Fire Department and Seattle Police Department. Which channel you hear depends on whether someone is talking when the scanner checks that frequency.

    I'm not hearing anything! Why?

    Periods of silence are normal, as there are moments where no one is transmitting or when the scanner is searching through the list of frequencies. Listening to the scanner requires a current version of the Adobe Flash Player.

    What's with the fire dispatch voice?

    The Seattle Fire Department uses a computer aided dispatch system that includes a synthesized female voice for most initial dispatches. So the first voice you usually hear sending units to an incident is generated by a computer.

    What are all the codes I'm hearing?

    Figuring out all of the agency jargon can take some getting used to. For the Seattle Fire Department, dispatching a unit "code red," yellow or green can indicate how urgently they need to respond, or whether the run has been cancelled. The colors can also be used to indicate the severity of patient injuries, with "green" being not seriously injured.

    If you have a specific question please e-mail us at We won't always know what was going on in specific incidents you may hear, but we'll do our best to help with some of the jargon.

    The more you listen the more you'll start to understand much of the terminology.

    Where are the fire units?

    The Seattle Fire Department maintains a real-time dispatch log online you can view any time to see what's going on. The Web site has taken it a step further to include a real time plot on a Google map of recent and active incidents.

    Where can I find more scanners like this?

    Below is a list of other real-time scanner feeds. If you have a link to add to this list please e-mail us:

    - Kitsap County online scanner

    - Snohomish County online scanner (Sheriff and fire departments)

    - King County online scanner (Vallycom - Fire and EMS)

    - East King County online scanner (NorCom - Fire and EMS)

    - Other scanner feeds around the country

    Where can I find out more about scanning?

    Locally you should check out the Intercept Northwest Web site and message boards, and the Radio Reference site has a large community of users who can help you get started.

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