Scanner Terms, FAQ's and Basic Information


Find em Hot, Leave em Wet

6I - Intoxicated/disorderly
ALS - Advanced Life Support
Area Box - An area box is used when a fire, fire alarm, CO alarm or smoke detector call is put out. On a working fire, an additional engine company and (for St. Mary's County) Water Supply 5 is added to the call. An example of a working fire dispatch: 'Area Box 3-09, xxxxx Imaginary Lane, for the working house fire. Companies 3, 4, 9 Tower 9, Water Supply 5, Company 39 is due.
ATL - Attempt to Locate
BIR - Brief Incident Report. This is usually given when the first arriving unit goes on scene. In short, it's a quick summary of what the officer sees.
BLS - Basic Life Support
CDS - Controlled Dangerous Substance. In short, drugs.
CJIS - Criminal Justice Information System
CMC - Civista Medical Center
CMH - Calvert Memorial Hospital
Code 601 - running radar
Code Response - Lights and sirens. Urgent.
DOA - Dead on Arrival
DOP- Destruction of property
DRT - Dead Right There
ECC - Emergency Communications (or Control) Center
EOC - Emergency Operations Center
EP - Emergency Petition. The person usually goes into emergency custody of the police on scene for either mental reasons or other.
Expedite - In terms of responding, it means to step up your response, or respond quickly.
Extradite -To send a wanted person back to where they are wanted from.
GOA - Gone on Arrival
Hazmat Box - Any incident that involves a hazardous material of any kind; i.e., gasoline tanker, propane/natural gas cylinders greater than 100 pounds, unknown substance; i.e., biological, chemical, nuclear, or Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
Local Box - A local box can be service calls, tree downs or things that don't necessarily require an emergency response, but still requires fire department assistance. EG; 'Local Box 1-01, on Budds Creek Road, south of Pin Cushion Road, for the tree down, Company 1 is due, 0855'
LZ - Landing Zone.
MCU - Mass Casualty Unit
MDB - Short for Mobile DataBase.
Medical Box - Single (1) ambulance company response on medical assist calls and those situations where other assistance is rendered. EXCEPTION: CPR in progress, dispatch ambulance, ALS, fire department.
MILES - Maryland Interagency Law Enforcement System
NCIC - National Crime Information Center. Almost any traffic stop will result in having the persons name run thru the database.
NLETS - National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System
PAR - Personnel Accountability Report. These are usually performed on long duration events, or events that require personnel to be rotated in or out of areas. A PAR check is done to make sure all personnel on the fireground are accounted for.
PC Search - Probable Cause Search. You'll hear this on traffic stops. It usually requires two officers.
PD - Short for 'Property Damage.' This is mainly used when referring to motor vehicle accidents that have no injuries.
PI - Short for 'Personal Injury.' This is used when referring to motor vehicle accidents with injury
Rescue Box - A rescue box is any type of call referring to any injury as a result of an accident. Motor vehicle accidents, confined space entrapments and entanglements are examples of a rescue box. A rescue box will usually be one engine/squad company and two ambulances per one? (I haven't looked at my dispatch procedures for ambulances in forever) vehicle. A rescue box will also be dispatched when a bus accident occurs, whether there is injury or not. One (1) ambulance will be dispatched for every two- (2) people injured. A minimum of two (2) ambulance companies are dispatched on all motor vehicle accidents when two (2) or more vehicles are involved (unless there is only one confirmed injury) or when in doubt.
Shock Trauma - Commonly referred to as Baltimore Shock Trauma. Not too be confused with Prince George's Hospital
Simulcast - A simulcast is used when an incident is transmitted that requires more than one officer to respond to a call. Disturbances, motor vehicle accidents, attempted suicides and fights are examples of calls that would be simulcasted.
SMH - St. Mary's Hospital.
SOW - Sent on way
SRO - School Resource Officer
TA - Trading as/business name
UTL - Unable to locate
VFD - Volunteer Fire Department
VRS - Volunteer Rescue Squad
Last edited:


Find em Hot, Leave em Wet

Priority 1 - The most urgent and time critical priority.
Priority 3 - Routine.
Priority 4 - Fatality.

Category A - Physiologic abnormalities and/or significant anatomical injuries that require emergent transport to a trauma center. Examples of this are a flail chest, 2 or more proximal long bone fractures (IE; two broken femurs), paralysis, any penetrating injuries to the head, neck or torso or an open or depressed skull. These are automatic flyouts.
Category B - Anatomical injuries that require urgent care by a trauma center. Examples of this is paralysis, amputation proximal to the wrist or ankle, crushed, degloved or mangled extremity (IE; crushed foot, skin taken entirely off hand), penetrating injuries proximal to the elbow or knee, or any combination trauma that involves burns. These are automatic flyouts.
Category C - This can also be referred to as the 'mechanism category.' These are injuries that are not urgent in nature, but require evaluation and/or treatment by a trauma center based upon mechanism. Unless the patient fits into Category A or B. Examples of this is any high risk auto crash which involves intrusion greater than 12 inches on the side the patient is on or greater than 18 inches on any side, ejection from a vehicle, death in the same vehicle, rollover without restraints, automobile vs pedestrian with significant impact and any motorcycle crash greater than 20 MPH. Category C patients also include those who fall 3 times greater than their height [EG; 6 foot person falls 20 feet, 6x3=18 18 or anything over is a flyout) and exposure to a blast or explosion. These are consultation injuries.
Category D - A category D patient is the least critical of any patient being flown out. However, other factors with an original category D patient can lead to the patient being flown out as a C. Factors that result in a category D flyout include a patient being less than the age of 5 or over the age of 55, a patient with a bleeding disorder or one on anticoagulants (SP?), a dialysis patient, any burn patient without other trauma and a pregnant woman over 20 weeks.


Level 1 - All responding apparatus report to their assigned areas as described by SOG. PAT tags are collected and placed on the PAT tag holder. Personnel remain on apparatus unless requested by command.
Level 2 - First arriving apparatus responds to the scene. All others will respond to an established area as requested by the first Officer or acting officer to arrive on the scene.


Level I - Level I Accountability will always be in effect.

Level II - Level II Accountability will be at the discretion of the Incident Commander. The IC will advise Fireboard when using this level. Fireboard will then announce to all units responding on the incident of the level and the location of the “PAT” drop off point (should be at the Command Post).

Level III – Level III Accountability is when the Incident Commander determines that the incident requires more stringent accountability; the IC will implement Point of Entry Control. Fireboard will then announce to all units responding on the incident, the level and the location of the “PAT” drop off point (should be at the Command Post).


CONDITION 1 - Fire is either under control or can immediately be put under control by units on the scene or responding.

CONDITION 2 - A working fire.

CONDITION 3 - Working fire, more units requested

RESPONSE BY CALL TYPE (SMC ONLY!!!!!) These are how the calls are dispatched. (Responses marked with a * indiicate calls for Company 4 add an additional engine company because of Station 14 running mutual aide off of Webster Field.

Commercial Building Fire* - 3 Companies, 2 Truck, 1 Ambulance.
House Fire* - 2 Companies, 1 Truck, 1 Ambulance.
Barn Fire* - 2 Companies, 1 Truck, 1 Ambulance
Shed Fire* - 2 Companies, 1 Truck, 1 Ambulance
Commercial Fire Alarm* - 2 Companies, 1 Truck
Residential Fire Alarm* - 2 Companies, 1 Truck
MVA PI* - 1 Company, 1 Squad, 2 Ambulances
MVA PI Bus* - 1 Company, 2 Squads and/or 1 Rescue Engine, 3 Ambulances, 1 Medic Unit
MVA Water* - 1 Company, 1 Squad/Rescue Engine, 2 Boats, 1 Raft, 2 Ambulances, 1 Medic Unit
MVA Water/Inland* - 1 Company, 2 Rafts, 1 Squad/Rescue Engine, 2 Ambulances
MVA Entrapment* - 1 Company, 2 Squads and/or Rescue Engine, 2 Ambulances, 1 Medic Unit
MVA HazMat* - 3 Companies, 1 Squad, HazMat 13, 2 Ambulances, Chief 100, Public Safety/HazMat 18
MVA Bus PD - 1 Company, 1 Ambulance
HazMat Investigation* - 1 Company, HazMat 18, Chief 100, Public Safety
HazMat Emergency* - 3 Companies, 1 Squad, HazMat13, 2 Ambulances, Chief 100, Public Safety, HazMat 18
HazMat B* - 1 Company, HazMat 13, 1 Ambulance, Chief 100, Public Safety, HazMat 18
CPR – Response determined - 1 Company, 1 Ambulance, 1 Medic Unit
By home Amb. Co. - 1 Company, 2 Ambulance, 1 Medic Unit
Working Comm. Bldg Fire - 4 Companies, 2 Trucks, Water Supply 5 2 Ambulances -- 2nd Alarm add SMECO, Fire Marshal
Working House Fire* - 3 Companies, 1 Truck, Water Supply 5, 2 Ambulance -- 2nd Alarm add SMECO, Fire Marshal
Working Shed Fire* - 3 Companies, 1 Truck, Water Supply 5, 2 Ambulance
Working Barn Fire* - 3 Companies, 1 Truck, Water Supply 5, 2 Ambulance
Brush/Woods Fire Class 4 - 2 Companies
Brush/Woods Fire Class 5 - 3 Companies
Aircraft Crash Land* - 3 Companies, Crash 13, 1 Squad, 3 Ambulances, 1 Medic Unit
Aircraft Crash Water* - 1 Company, 1 Squad, 3 Boats, 3 Ambulances, 1 Medic Unit, MSP Helo, DNR, USCG
Water Rescue Open Water* - 1 Company, 2 Boats, 1 Ambulance, MSP Helo, DNR, USCG
Water Rescue Inland Water* - 1 Company, 2 Raft, 1 Squad, 1 Ambulance, DNR
Boat in Distress - 1 Company, 2 Boat, 1 Ambulance, MSP Helo, DNR, USCG
Search Party - 3 Companies, 1 Gator, 1 Ambulance, MSP Helo, Search Dogs
CO Detector No Symptoms -1 Company
CO Detector with Symptoms - 1 Company, 2 Ambulance, 1 Medic Unit
Gas Leak Residential* - 2 Companies, 1 Squad, 1 Ambulance
Gas Leak Commercial - 3 Companies, 1 Truck, 1 Squad, 1 Ambulance
Structural Collapse - 2 Companies, 2 Trucks, 2 Squads, Co 13, 3 Ambulances, Medic Unit, Collapse Rescue Team
Confined Space Rescue - 1 Company, 1 Truck, 2 Squads, Co13 Confined Space Team, 3 Ambulances, 1 Medic Unit
MVA House Fire* - 2 Companies, 1 Truck, 1 Squad, 2 Ambulances, 1 Medic Unit
MVA Comm Bldg Fire* - 3 Companies, 2 Truck, 1 Squad, 2 Ambulances, 1 Medic Unit
Gas Leak Outside - 1 Company
Water Flow Alarm* - 3 Companies, 2 Truck, 1 Ambulance
Single company responses (county wide): Vehicle Fire, Brush/Woods Fire Class 3 and lower, MVA PD, Smoke Investigation, Hazardous Condition, Service Call, 1089(Bomb Threat), Farm Accident (plus Ambulance, Squad and Medic Unit), Industrial Accident (plus Ambulance, Squad, Truck and Medic Unit), Alarm Malfunction, Stand By, Fire Prevention, Smoke Detector No Smoke/Fire, Wires/Pole Down, Unauthorized Burning, Landing Zone, Assist Police, Tree Down, Alarm Malfunction, Animal Rescue, Flooding Condition,, Dumpster Fire, Tree Fire, Debris Fire, Fire Reported Out, Rekindle



Company 1 - Leonardtown VFD
Company 2 - Mechanicsville VFD -- Mechanicsville Station
Company 3 - Bay District VFD -- Lexington Park Station
Company 4 - Ridge VFD
Company 5 - Seventh District (Avenue) VFD
Company 6 - Second District (Valley Lee) VFD&RS
Company 7 - Hollywood VFD
'8' - This designation is used for Calvert County units coming into St. Mary's County. EG; Engine 831 would be Solomons Engine 31
Company 9 - Bay District VFD -- California Station
Company 13 - Pax River Fire Department
Company 14 - Pax River Fire Department -- Webster Field Annex
Company 18 - County Hazmat
Company 19 - Leonardtown VRS
Company 22 - Mechanicsville VFD -- Golden Beach Station
Company 29 - Mechanicsville VRS
Company 38 - Lexington Park VRS -- Buck Hewitt Station
Company 39 - Lexington Park VRS -- Great Mills Station
Company 49 - Ridge VRS
Company 59 - Seventh District (Avenue) VRS
Company 79 - Hollywood VRS
Medic - The building is located in Leonardtown, however, they have four designations. Medics 1, 2, 3 and 391.


Company 1 - La Plata VFD
Company 2 - Hughesville VFD&RS
Company 3 - Waldorf VFD&RS -- Waldorf Station
Company 4 - Nanjemoy VFD
Company 5 - Benedict VFD&RS
Company 6 - Cobb Island VFD
Company 7 - Potomac Heights VFD&RS
Company 8 - Tenth District (Marbury) VFD&RS
Company 9 - Indian Head VFD&RS
Company 10 - Bel Alton VFD&RS
Company 11 - Bryans Road VFD&RS
Company 12 - Waldorf VFD&RS - Westlake Station
Company 13 - Charles County Dive Team
Company 14 - Newburg VFD&RS
Company 15 - Dentsville VRS
Company 16 - Charles County EMS & Hazmat
Company 20 - NSWC IHD Fire/EMS
Company 21 - Stump Neck Annex EOD Fire/EMS*
Company 51 - Charles County Rescue Squad
Company 58 - Ironsides VRS
Company 60 - Charles County MICU


Company 1 - North Beach VFD&RS
Company 2 - Prince Frederick VFD
Company 3 - Solomons VFD&RS
Company 4 - Prince Frederick VRS
Company 5 - Dunkirk VFD&RS
Company 6 - Huntingtown VFD&RS
Company 7 - St. Leonard VFD&RS
Company 10 - ALS
Company 12 - Dive Team
Last edited:


Find em Hot, Leave em Wet

10-0 Caution
10-1 Unable to copy
10-3 Stop transmitting
10-4 OK
10-5 Relay
10-6 Busy
10-7 Out of service
10-8 In service
10-9 Repeat
10-10 Fight in progress
10-11 Dog case
10-12 Stand-by (stop)
10-13 Weather report
10-14 Prowler
10-15 Civil disturbance
10-16 Domestic problem
10-17 Meet complainant
10-18 Quickly
10-19 Return to
10-20 Location
10-21 Call _ by telephone
10-22 Disregard
10-23 Arrived at scene
10-24 Assignment completed
10-25 Report in person
10-26 Detaining subject
10-27 Driver's license information
10-28 Vehicle registration info.
10-29 Check for wanted
10-30 Unnecessary use of radio
10-31 Crime in progress
10-32 Man with gun
10-34 Riot
10-35 Major crime alert
10-36 Correct time
10-37 Investigate susp. vehicle
10-38 Stopping suspicious vehicle
10-39 Urgent - use light & siren
10-40 Silent run - no light/siren
10-41 Beginning tour of duty
10-42 Ending tour of duty
10-43 Information
10-44 Permission to leave
10-45 Animal carcass at
10-46 Assist motorist
10-47 Emergency road repair at
10-48 Traffic standard repair at
10-49 Traffic light out at
10-50 Accident (PI, PD)
10-51 Wrecker
10-52 Ambulance
10-53 Road blocked at
10-54 Livestock on highway
10-55 Intoxicated driver
10-56 Intoxicated pedestrian
10-57 Hit & Run (PI, PD)
10-58 Direct traffic
10-59 Convoy or escort
10-60 Squad in vicinity
10-61 Personnel in area
10-62 Reply to message
10-63 Prepare to make written copy
10-64 Message for local delivery
10-65 Net message assignment
10-66 Message cancellation
10-67 Clear for net message
10-68 Dispatch information
10-69 Message received
10-70 Fire alarm
10-71 Advise nature of fire
10-72 Report progress on fire
10-73 Smoke report
10-74 Negative
10-75 In contact with
10-76 Enroute
10-77 ETA
10-78 Need assistance
10-79 Notify coroner
10-80 Chase in progress
10-81 Breath test
10-82 Reserve lodging
10-83 Work school crossing at
10-84 If meeting _ advise ETA
10-85 Delayed due to
10-86 Officer/operator on duty
10-87 Pick up/distribute checks
10-88 Present telephone # of
10-89 Bomb threat
10-90 Bank alarm at
10-91 Pick up prisoner/subject
10-92 Improperly parked vehicle
10-93 Blockade
10-94 Drag racing
10-95 Prisoner/subject in custody
10-96 Mental subject
10-97 Radio test
10-98 Prison/jail break
10-99 Wanted/stolen indicated


A - Adam
B - Boy
C - Charles
D - David
E - Edward
F - Frank
G - George
H - Henry
I - Ida
J - John
K - King
L - Lincoln
M - Mary
N - Nora
O - Ocean
P - Paul
Q - Queen
R - Robert
S - Sam
T - Tom
U - Union
V - Victor
W - William
X - Xray
Y - Young
Z - Zebra


A - Armed
B - Dangerous
C - Mental
D - Armed/Mental
E - Suicidal
F - Armed/Suicidal
G - Resists Arrest
H - Armed & Resists Arrest
I - Dangerous & Resists Arrest
J - Mental & Resists Arrest
K - Suicidal & Resists Arrest
L - Approach with Caution
M - Assaults Police Officers
N - Drug User/Seller
O - Medical contagion
P - Prior arrests


Adam - Usually a supervisor. Usually a two digit number below 99. EG; "Adam 33 to St. Marys 10-8"
David - A corrections officer. Usually a 3 digit number above 600. EG; "David 668 St. Marys, enroute to the jail with one 10-95"
Ida - Part of the investigative/detective team. Usually a 3 or 4 digit number. The majority of the four digit units are part of the crime lab team, or civilian staff. EG; "Ida 1001 St. Marys, 10-8 in the county'
K9 - Self explanitory.
Paul - A regular patrol unit. These are the sheriff's you see patrolling the streets. They can be identified with any two or three digit number. "Paul 126 St. Mary's, 10-27, 10-29 on the registered owner'
Tom (or T) - These are the state police. When talking to their Leonardtown dispatch, they commonly refer to themselves as simply the letter T. When they need to talk to St. Mary's or any of the sheriff's, they refer to themselves as Tom. EG; 'T26 Leonardtown, Copy traffic -- 235 at MacArthur Boulevard'


Find em Hot, Leave em Wet

What does the term 'box' mean, and what do the terms before them mean?

A box is a map area that is divided into grids, that include locations that are relative to that area. Within these areas are numerous streets, and they can also include businesses, schools, multi-occupancy residences and other general buildings.
The terms before them are descriptors for the responding units. These indicate what type of incident they will be responding too. For instance, most local boxes are flooding conditions, tree down, transformer fires or anything that doesn't involve fire, but requires fire department assistance. Most area boxes are anything that could potentially involve fire, such as fire alarms, CO alarms, smoke detectors soundings, and of course house fires. Water rescue is just as the name implies. A medical box is any BLS/ALS call that requires the ambulance to be dispatched first. A rescue box is anything that involves injury that would require the fire department to respond. The most common is motor vehicle accidents, but these could also include structural collapses or entrapments, just to name a few.
Last edited:


Land of the lost
Listen to Police / Fire / EMS scanners ONLINE

Southern Maryland Online offers several online scanners that are available for you to listen to online.

Visit Public Safety (Police, Fire, EMS) Radio Scanners for Southern Maryland (Calvert, Charles, St. Mary's Counties) and select the area you are interested in listening to. There are several listening options, including the Windows Media Player embedded directly into the page above, Winamp, Quicktime, Realplayer, and others are among the supported scanner play options.

Each of the scanners supports up to 50 simultanious users. This is usually plenty, but, upon occasion, when something major is "going down", the scanner slots do fill up. We can, and have in the past, enabled an additional feed to be able support more users.

Don't forget the other online audio feed that SOMD has, ! Live internet radio from right here in Southern Maryland!
Last edited:


Find em Hot, Leave em Wet
I've updated the priorities section to include 'categories.' I've tried to be as thorough as possible (probably too thorough.) If anyone has any questions, don't hesitate to ask.


Find em Hot, Leave em Wet
I've now included the EMD priority system that SMC has begun to implement. Until I get the official list from either Fireboard or someone in the higher-up's, this list is unofficial.


Active Member
M.I.C.U. Mobile Intensive Care Unit i.e. Medic Unit. Mass Casualty Units use the designation of MCU or Mass Casualty Unit.

In Calvert the Company #8 is NOT a mutual aid designation. For St. Mary's companies responding to Calvert a #2 is added in front of their St. Mary's company number i.e. Bay District is either 23 or 29 to Calvert.


Down here in Florida, they use both 10 codes and signal codes, talk about confusing. Even the phonetics are completely different.

When they call out a 10-50 it's a traffic stop and I know 10-50 there is an accident, kind of strange hearing 10-50s all day long.

The dispatchers here are interesting, just heard an officer call in for the Gators score and the dispatcher not only gave her the score, but said she was rooting for the other team. :killingme


Find em Hot, Leave em Wet
Down here in Florida, they use both 10 codes and signal codes, talk about confusing. Even the phonetics are completely different.

When they call out a 10-50 it's a traffic stop and I know 10-50 there is an accident, kind of strange hearing 10-50s all day long.

The dispatchers here are interesting, just heard an officer call in for the Gators score and the dispatcher not only gave her the score, but said she was rooting for the other team. :killingme

Hey, it's laid back! The dispatchers and police here have a very good working relationship. Most of the officers know most of the dispatchers, and vice versa.


Find em Hot, Leave em Wet
OK everybody, I added a new section within the post for fire departments. This is the response types by call. If you've ever wondered how certain things get dispatched, this should (hopefully) sort it out. This is for St. Mary's County only.