SignalBooster.com is an Emergency Responder Radio Coverage (ERRC) Specialist that can help with public safety RF coverage testing - And if needed, installing a public safety signal booster or public safety DAS (distributed antenna system).
What is Public Safety Signal Booster or Public Safety Distributed Antenna System (PSDAS)? It is a radio frequency (RF) signal enhancement system that closes 700 MHz and 800 MHz public safety spectrum wireless coverage gaps for first responders in all parts of a building to allow them to use their emergency radios seamlessly.
It can be required for a new or renovated building to get a certificate of occupancy to meet the national fire protection association codes mandated by Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Such in-building wireless coverage solutions consist of Bi-Directional Amplifier (BDA), Donor and Server Broadcast Antennas, Back-Up Battery, and Fire-Resistant Plenum Cables that connect all of the parts together.
Since years, SignalBooster.com has been the top public safety signal enhancement system designer and installer - meeting and even exceeding National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requirements to guarantee certification with local jurisdictions.
Find out how our expert team of trained, certified, and experienced installers can help with ERRC testing and achieving required coverage if your in-building public safety bands including FirstNet network coverage does not meet required standards for ERRC.
Emergence of ERRC requirement in 21st Century
With ever changing modernization in architectural and construction to boost energy efficiency and enhance aesthetics, emergency communications within buildings has gradually become worse. From high efficient types of windows to metallic doors and metallic cladding, radio signals are largely lost in between, hampering and even seriously affecting wireless communication in many cases.
Even cellphone and largely wireless users rely heavily on ability to connect. They now expect to do so from wherever they are, whether dining in a busy restaurant, relaxing in a five-star hotel, shopping in malls, working in high rises, subways to basements among others. However, the seriousness of disruption is that it can also affect work to be done by first responders as RF (radio frequency) wireless signals move through diverse heavy materials causing signal to be weakened. Inside buildings, if RF reception falls below expected levels, communication can end or become totally unreliable. In fact, in underground areas of buildings, radio coverage is frequently absent and RF enhancement systems are required to bring them back up to usable levels.
Events after 9/11
From the beginning, it has always been recognized that architectural materials and structures affect radio signals being transmitted, making them completely unreliable. Even normal radio signals are affected largely affecting the response of emergency and first responders and putting at risk the lives of people in need of emergency rescue.
For years, fire codes remained unchanged and un-updated to allow emergency radio connections. This however changed with 9/11 when it was found out that 343 firefighters lost their lives just because of insufficient radio communication.
As a result, both IFC (International Fire Code) 510 and NFPA (National Fire Protection Act) 72 updated their codes and requirements systematically indicating that ERRC (Emergency Responder Radio Coverage) is a must. It means that radio communication, according to the codes, must perform well in every new building. While IFC refers to the new requirement as ERRC, it is referred to as RES (Radio Enhancement Systems) by NFPA.
Bi-Directional Amplification System
ERRC and RES are referred to, as BDA (Bi-Directional Amplifier) Systems, Radio Amplifier System, DAS (Distributed Antenna System) or Public Safety Repeaters. The IFC Rule on this requires that every building newly constructed to have approved emergency responders' radio reception inside the building depending on the type of public safety coverage network of the jurisdiction existing outside the building.
What areas in a building should be covered?
According to the NFPA requirements, 99 percent of critical area coverage is expected to encompass all important sections in the building, from valve locations, emergency command areas, exit stairs, sprinkler sections, exit passageways, standpipe cabinets and elevator lobbies, among others. For general building locations, all building floors should be at least 95 percent covered.
NFPA's ERRC system components
The BDA system components required by NFPA to enable and support public safety, first aid, and other emergency responders at any given time are clearly indicated.
- Fully certified by FCC cellular signal boosters.
- Signal boosters must cover both digital and analog communications at the same time.
- Coverage boosters and their components must always be enclosed in 4X or NEMA-4 types of enclosures.
- Inside antennas and donor antenna must maintain an isolation while signal generators are required for isolation testing.
- The command center should include a monitoring dedicated panel for the annunciation of signal booster status. The panel should show display labels or visuals of antenna failure, standard AC power, low-battery issues, troubles with signal booster and battery charging problems, among others.
ERRC specialist required for system design and installation
Considering the Emergency Responder Radio Coverage is a complex system that must be monitored and approved, installation requires a specialist. The specialist will comb the entire building, carry out site survey and tests to design, recommend, consult and superbly integrate the proper in-building ERRC system ideal for the premises. You can also request for public safety grid test to be carried out during the first phase of the building construction to ascertain if any BDA system will be needed.
Where shared systems are allowed, note that the ERRC system will integrate multi-cellular and wireless carriers. Every customer has different and unique needs and the specialists on the ground will determine the perfect system that will work in your location. Generally, most public safety communication systems require 700MHz-800MHz while others necessitate VHF 150MHz-170MHz and UHF 450MHz-470MHz.
What will the emergency responder radio coverage specialist provide?
Apart from ensuring IFC and NFPA codes are met, the specialist will also provide different services, including:
- Tests for RF coverage.
- Plans for system maintenance.
- Local fire code requirements and ordinances consultation.
- Complete installation of the system and total integration.
- Frequency bands supported.
Throughout the testing, installation and management process, the specialist ensures different requirements are met. As such, safety is assured and operational efficiency and effectiveness for first and emergency responders and firefighters is increased considerably.
Share this post