How to Monitor Police, Fire & Ambulance Emergency Services

Written by pamela gardapee
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Police, fire and emergency service calls may be monitored using a police scanner. Most of the newer scanners are compact and may be used with batteries. Monitoring emergency service calls allows you to hear what is going on in your community and some surrounding areas. Police scanners monitor frequencies that are assigned to each and every emergency service, in addition to government offices and transit companies.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Police scanner
  • Frequency list

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  1. 1

    Purchase a police scanner that has at least 10 channels. There are many manufacturers of police radios and different models. Purchase a digital programmable base or handheld police scanner.

  2. 2

    Visit to find the current emergency frequencies for your state and county. Look for city police, county sheriff, state patrol or police, and city and county fire and ambulance services. Write down the frequencies with a name of each service.

  3. 3

    Use the "Manual" button to stop the scanner from scanning. Use the arrow up and down key or press the manual key to change to the channel number where you want to enter the first frequency. Use the number keypad on the police scanner to enter the frequency for the first emergency service. Press "E" to store the frequency. Continue this step to enter each frequency.

  4. 4

    Press the "Scan" button to scan the channels. When a transmission comes over the airwaves, the scanner will stop on that frequency so you can hear the conversation.

Tips and warnings

  • Most newer police scanners can also be preprogrammed with your local frequencies at the dealer where you purchase the radio.
  • Although each manufacturer has different features on the scanner, the manual, scan, enter and number keypads function the same.

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