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A Guide to Fire Tones

A Guide to Fire Tones

Fire tones are tone pairs used to quickly signal to pagers or scanners. These tone pairs usually represent a type of emergency, such as fire, and are used by ambulances, fire departments, police departments, etc. Different fire tones are used on certain channels to denote the dispatching of different fire departments or fire companies.

Using fire tones allows anyone using a pager or scanner system to quickly send out alerts without worrying about speech, static or length. The standardized use of fire tones ensures that anyone who receives the signal will understand what it means.

Decoding Fire Tones

Many areas that have different fire companies using different fire tones maintain websites with samples of all the fire tones so people can distinguish between them. These sites don’t just include fire tones but also tones used by paramedics, search and rescue teams and probation offices. Some also have sections on “mystery tones.”

The best way to decode fire tones, however, is through the use of a device that can remember up to ten different fire tones and identify them for you when they are received. Such devices include the Motorola Minitor and Uniden scanners. You can use these scanners to identify the fire tones you hear, and you can also use them to filter the communications that come through to you. With one of these devices, you can choose to only be alerted if certain agencies are dispatched without having to listen to constant signal. The device recognizes the fire tones or other tones that you are interested in and only alerts you when one of those specified tones is received.

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