Chittenden County, Vermont Online Fire/EMS Scanner 📻

Maintained by Hinnz.com since 2021.
Thank you to the volunteers who kept it running before I stepped up!

🔊 You can listen to the live scanner at https://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/36880 or on your favorite scanner app.


⚠️ Feel free to listen in, but please only use this audio feed in ways that are respectful to our local first responders and the people they’re responding to.

Misuse of this feed to invade individuals’ privacy (such as posting about people’s medical issues on social media), to harass anyone, or to interfere with first responders could lead toward this feed shutting down and/or local agencies switching to encrypted radio communications, so let’s please all do our part to keep it available.

This online feed is provided for informational and entertainment purposes but it should never be relied on for actual emergency alerting or response. It is run as a hobby project, not a 100%-reliable emergency service.


☑️ Agencies included

Chittenden County, Vermont map
This scanner feed covers nearly every Fire and EMS call within Chittenden County, the most populated county in the state of Vermont.

(in alphabetical order)

Dispatch frequencies and most primary operations channels for the agencies above are audible. Frequencies generally not included on this feed include fireground channels (not amplified through a repeater = hard to receive) and ambulance-to-hospital channels (broadcasting them online is against Broadcastify’s rules).

Agencies in other nearby counties are generally not included; if you’re interested in listening to other counties you can check out that county’s page on broadcastify.com or on your favorite scanner app to see what’s available.

💡 Tips for new listeners

Long periods of silence are normal; the feed is probably working but nothing’s happening over the radio. Emergencies are unpredictable, Chittenden County is not a huge metropolis, and things can go from very quiet to very busy (to very quiet again) quickly. If you leave the feed on for an hour or two you’ll probably hear something.

Software/Apps: I recommend listening using a client that will automatically try to reconnect if there’s an issue. Good choices include:

To prevent your Android phone from “helpfully” killing your scanner app to save battery life, refer to the instructions for your phone manufacturer at https://dontkillmyapp.com/

Who’s Talking: Since many frequencies are included in this feed, it might take a little guesswork sometimes to figure out who you’re hearing. One of the best hints is often the name of the dispatcher (whether they’re identifying themselves or being hailed by someone else).

Sometimes the name makes it relatively clear who the dispatcher is, but the following common identifiers can be a bit trickier to figure out.

Common local dispatchers’ identifiers:

Fire department units go by a variety of names that are usually a combination of a prefix followed by a number: “Engine”, “Ladder”, “Tower”, “Tanker”, “Utility” and “Car” all refer to different types of fire department vehicles (and “Foam” is a type of fire apparatus at the airport). Individual firefighters are often referred to as “K-” and fire officers by “C-”.

Ambulances are usually referred to as “A” (like “A-1”) or sometimes “Rescue” (though “Rescue” can occasionally refer to a type of fire department apparatus – it’s confusing!) and individual EMTs usually by “Med”.

Medic: If you hear someone requesting a “medic”, it doesn’ t mean nobody on scene is medically trained! They’re referring to a Paramedic: a type of first responder with even more advanced medical training than the EMTs and Advanced EMTs that are the norm on ambulances in our area.

Code 3” means “with lights and sirens” and “Code 2” or “flow of traffic” or “downgrade” means without lights and sirens.

I hope these tips help you begin to follow what’s happening!

💻 Technical details

This feed isn’t based on a traditional radio scanner (which very quickly checks each frequency, stopping on any channel that’s active, and then continuing to scan through each channel again). Instead this feed uses multiple software-defined-radio dongles connected to a computer, which allows it to to monitor every desired frequency at all times.

The computer that runs the scannner feed
The trusty old Thinkpad from ~2012 that runs the scanner feed 24/7. The CPU fan clatters a bit but it still seems to be going strong. If the laptop does die then I have a backup that can be up and running within a day or two.

All channels are being monitored at all times! A traditional scanner often misses the first part of a transmission while it’s checking through dozens of other channels, and when one channel is active you miss out on everything that might be happening at the same time on other channels.

In contrast, on this feed, if someone on one department’s channel starts saying something and half a second later another department gets toned out to a call, you’ll just hear them both, as they’re happening (overlapping if that’s how it happened temporally).

Overall I think it’s preferable to deal with sometimes-overlapping transmissions than to miss out on everything but the one current transmission (which is what happens with a traditional scanner). If overlapping transmissions prove to be too noisy and confusing I could consider switching to software that would queue up simultaneous transmissions for sequential playback, though it’s more complicated to set up, introduces more delay in the feed, would sometimes result in repetitive identical dispatches, and has other issues, so I don’t think a switchover is likely right now.

rtl-sdr dongles
The rtl-sdr dongles that take the signals from the antennas and feed a digital version into the computer. Most of these are Nooelec NESDR SMArt dongles. The wires running upward pass into the attic where the antennas are. The powered USB hubs allow me to connect 7+ antennas' worth of signal to one USB port on the laptop.

The hardware that runs this feed:

Yagi antenna
An example of one of the directional Yagi antennas I use to get good reception. Most of the other antennas are smaller than this one, but the homemade VHF Yagi (with 5 elements) is much larger.

Small antenna
Sometimes only a very small antenna is needed, like this one, about the length of my hand.

There are clearly more efficient ways to do it (especially if you have the ability to put up a large outdoor antenna), but this works well, gives me a lot of control over the reception, fits in the attic, and will make it relatively easy to adapt if more local agencies upgrade to digital radios.

The software that runs this feed

📻 Frequency List

This list is kept current, but is subject to change. Frequencies are in MHz. They are sorted by SDR device for my convenience, but every one of these frequencies is monitored simultaneously on the online feed.

If you need more information about local frequencies, https://radioreference.com/db/ or https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchAdvanced.jsp are two good resources. RadioReference also has a good wiki page on deciphering FCC emission codes. If you need help, try posting on the RadioReference Forums or the Scan New England Forums.

Device 0 - VHF J-pole antenna

Device 1 - UHF Yagi antenna

Device 2 - VHF J-pole antenna

Device 3 - VHF Yagi antenna

Device 4 - small, basic UHF antenna

Device 5 - UHF Yagi antenna

Device 6 - UHF Yagi antenna

Device 7 - VHF Yagi antenna

Device 8 - UHF Yagi antenna

🚩 Report a Problem

You can report problems with this feed

I do my best, but this is a hobby project with many different parts all cobbled together and things do go wrong occasionally!

🔊 You can listen to the live scanner at https://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/36880 or on your favorite scanner app.


Comments

On May 12, 2023 Rodney wrote:
Would you consider adding Cambridge Fire Dept please and maybe Lamoille sheriff dept or Vermont state police
My reply: Hi Rodney, I appreciate the suggestion, but for a combination of reasons I’ve decided to keep this feed limited to Chittenden County Fire and EMS.

On Oct. 2, 2022 Shawn wrote:
Hey! Is it possible for you to throw 155.7150 (Addison county) on the Chittenden feed? You would not have any problem receiving the channel from where your at. I feel this would be highly beneficial because a lot of mutual aid work occures between Addison and Chittenden counties.
Reason 2. There are no current Addison county fire channels on a feed.
Reason 3. People would appreciate your feed that much more.
Please take thus into consideration and get back with me.
Thanks
Shawn
My reply: I’ve considered it, but as much as I’d like to cover a wider area, for a combination of reasons I’ve decided to keep the feed limited to Chittenden County. I hope someone in/near Addison County can step up to provide a feed of the Addison County fire channels since it sounds like there is a demand for it.

On June 25, 2022 [a Facebook scanner group] wrote:
Hey! We would love to have you as a Facebook editor for our page, shoot us a message and let us know! Thanks:)
My reply: Thanks for the invitation, but I don’t use Facebook.