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Boosting In-Building Public Safety Wireless Communication Systems

Mar 21, 2018

Boosting In-Building Public Safety Wireless Communication Systems

Learn what is an In-Building Public Safety Wireless Communication System and see how can help Boost In-Building Public Safety Wireless Communication Systems within your building so first responders can respond to, or prevent situations or incidents that pose a serious threat to people and/or property.

What is a Public Safety Wireless Communication System?

An In-Building Public Safety Wireless Communications System is a system that has been designed specifically for use by first responders and other emergency services personnel such as emergency medical, fire, police, disaster response, and homeland security agencies, to allow them to respond to, or prevent situations or incidents that pose a serious threat to people and/or property.

Why an In-Building Public Safety Wireless Communication System May Not Be Enough?

Many buildings contain areas where radio signal coverage is non-existent or extremely weak. Examples of such spaces can be basements, elevators, stairwells, etc. Therefore, an In-Building Public Safety Communication "Signal Booster" System must be installed to ensure that all areas of a building can be penetrated by radio signals. Such complete radio signal penetration would then enable first responders and other emergency personnel to communicate with each other throughout an entire building.

Why is Public Safety Signal Booster System required for many buildings?

As mentioned above, many large size buildings contain areas where radio signal coverage does not exist due to thick concrete walls and other building materials that prevent radio signals from entering such spaces. In order to work effectively and efficiently, first responders require reliable voice communication, location information, data, and telemetry. It is vitally important that all emergency personnel have reliable tools at their disposal, particularly it situations when just a few seconds can mean the difference between life and death. The 9/11 terrorist attack was a grave lesson on just how important reliable in-building public-safety radio coverage is when it comes to saving lives. This is why a public safety signal amplifier system or a public safety distributed antenna system (DAS) is required per new federal and state fire safety regulations - if signal coverage is less than 99% within large buildings.

Building Owners/Managers and Construction Trades Need To Know Foll. Requirements:

Understand Your Local Fire and Building Codes, and Your Local Ordinances.

Your local codes and ordinances are authorized by the NFPA 72 and NFPA 1221, as well as Section 510 of the IFC. Be aware that these codes and ordinances may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and while some codes are enforced, and some codes are modified, some are yet to be adopted. It is your responsibility to make yourself aware of local codes and the permitting process during the budgeting and design stages of your project.

Don't Risk a Non-Compliance Violation.

If you fail to meet your local codes and ordinances when remodeling or constructing a new building, your non-compliance could well mean that you will not receive a Certificate of Occupancy. When it comes to existing buildings, all violations of local code and ordinances will have to be corrected.

Get in Early to Engage the Relevant Building and Inspections Department and Code Officials.

By engaging the relevant departments early and encompassing appropriate timelines into your building plans, you could be saving yourself a lot of time and money. Infrastructure, such as conduits and pathways, should be approved prior to walls and ceilings being closed up. Working in conjunction with your local officials can save a lot of time and prevent unnecessary costs.

Who Pays for Public Safety DAS or Signal Booster / Amplifier System?

The cost of an In-Building Public Safety Communication Booster System is typically born by the building owner. However, there have been exceptions where third party operators of public mega-venues have deployed a combined Public Safety System and Signal Amplifier / Cellular Repeater System.

Work with Experienced Professionals.

There are many things to consider when deploying solutions for reliable public safety coverage; things like building parameters, the spectrum environment, and the user's operational needs. Reliable public safety systems require high-quality products, customization, good systems engineering, and professional installation and maintenance. Installing a reliable in-building public safety system will be different for every building. Depending on the particular situation, there will be a variety of solution options. That is why it is extremely important that you work in conjunction with experienced professionals who have worked in your target jurisdiction and who have working experience with In-Building Public Safety Communication Booster Systems such as has been offering turnkey nationwide public safety signal amplifier system since many years and has had countless public safety signal enhancing systems installed.

Reliable Cellular Service Is Very Important.

Today, people are moving away from landlines in droves and are using their mobile phones for all their communication needs. This means that most calls originating from within buildings, including 911 calls, are made from mobile phones. If cellular service is poor or non-existent in critical areas like stairways, basement areas, parking garages, and so on, people's lives are being placed at risk, because these calls may never be made or received.

Text alert systems have become very common for emergencies and crises in campus environments like healthcare, education, and corporate campuses, so these outbound contacts will fail without reliable cellular coverage. An Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system that requires mobile service providers or carriers to provide the communications capability to the President for addressing the American public during a national emergency. This system also may be used by federal, state, and local authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as AMBER alerts and weather information targeted to specific areas. These will also fail without reliable cellular coverage.

In-Building Public Safety Communication Booster Systems and Cellular Repeater Systems use the same technology and supply ecosystem, which means that significant cost savings can be achieved by designing and installing these two systems simultaneously. They would typically share common infrastructure like power, pathways (conduits, raceways, penetrations) cooling, space, antenna, cabling, and other active components.

Important Considerations for Fire and Building Code Officials (Authority Having Jurisdiction).

Make Sure Your Local Standards and Procedures for Permits Are Well Documented.

Keep in mind that the requirements for In-Building Public Safety Communication Booster Systems are comparatively new, certainly not like electrical codes or sprinkler system codes, and people involved in the industry are still trying to navigate their way through these new codes and regulations. Therefore, your requirements should be very clearly documented. In addition, your procedures for preconstruction permits and documentation requirements must be clear, concise, and published. Failure to clearly document these procedures will create confusion and frustration, and you will be answering the same inquiries over and over again.

Be Clear about Documentation Requirements and Your Inspection and Testing Procedures

As the authority having jurisdiction, your requirements should be very clear. If on-site inspections are available, make it known. If you're an authority who prefers building owners to engage the services of a third-party professional to test and document compliance to code and system performance, make it known.

Balance Outcomes Without Imposing Unnecessary Costs.

Your aim should be to ensure your jurisdiction's requirements regarding critical communications are achieved. However, these requirements should be met without the imposition of unnecessary costs. Experts are routinely engaged by the technical industry and both the ICC and NFPA to ensure that model codes are adapted that achieve this balance.

Participate in Training and Public Information Industry Forums.

Seminars and training concerning the supply ecosystem of In-Building Public Safety Communication Booster Systems are held quite regularly by groups like the Safer Building Coalition. Participation in public information industry forums and training sessions ensures you always receive up-to-date data about new fire codes, proposed codes, new FCC requirements, and other regulations. Offers Complete Turnkey Start to Finish In-Building Signal Boosting Solutions.

As you know, large steel and concrete structures greatly reduce indoor cellular coverage, so has counteracted this very serious problem by deploying either Public Safety DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems) or Public Safety Signal Booster/ Amplifier/ Repeater in large buildings and public venues right across United States. The bi-directional booster (BDB) system and/or network of small antennas of a DAS successfully enhance wireless service within large buildings and other designated areas, and has already installed thousands of these in-building solutions. Public Safety DAS achieves enhanced capacity, connectivity, and coverage, in areas typically not reached by an unassisted network signal. As well as supporting QPP, LTE DAS provides full access to the FirstNet network, with densification offering additional safety and security for both first responders and citizens.

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  • No-brainer? Putting public safety boosters in new buildings should be mandatory and there’s a case to be made that older buildings should have them too. As this story mentions, building codes and safety regulations are widely different. I wish we could get a federal law mandating them but for now, that seems unlikely. Perhaps with the new infrastructure legislation.

    Harv Fowler on
  • “What about my home or car? How to know if I need a cell phone signal booster?” Not to sound like an ad from Big Pharma but…” Do you get a lot of dropped calls?” “Do you experience poor call quality?” “Do you have slow data speeds?” If the answer is yes to one or more, you probably are somewhere where there is poor cell phone reception. It could be any number of factors such as the materials your home is made out of, how far away cell phone towers are, or even recurring bad weather. A cell phone booster will boost (hence the name) the cell phone signal being broadcast from the cell tower, making for a much stronger connection. This leads to less (or no) dropped calls, fast data speeds, and good call clarity.

    Mason Stevens on
  • What about my home or car? How to know if I need a cell phone signal booster?

    Rudolph J. Kay on
  • “Can someone explain to boost phone network reception in any rural area? I live out in the country and my cell phone reception is poor” I know several people who report this problem. I understand one of the biggest causes for bad reception in rural areas is that the darn towers are so far away. While you’re getting a signal, it’s weak because the tower has to travel a distance (their range is limited). Unfortunately, companies don’t seem to be eager to build as many towers as we’d like. The good news is you can buy a cell phone booster for your home. This will increase the existing signal, making it strong so you don’t get dropped calls, have slow data speeds, or poor call quality.

    Dominic Edwards on
  • I’ve heard there are difficulties with getting reliable wireless signals in buildings. My personal experience is you can run into problems when you get into elevators, basements, or areas with a lot of structural steel, concrete, etc. From what I’ve heard, these can interfere with the cell phone signals, either weakening them or blocking them entirely. I’d have to say that’s the last thing a firefighter, paramedic, etc. wants to encounter when they’re in such a building. I’m glad there are boosters for building’s public safety wireless communication systems. I’m also glad there are more regulations to make sure they are in place to protect the brave men and women who risk their lives for us.

    Silas Ritterhouse on

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