Public Safety Communication system is a wireless communications system that is exclusively used by first responders and emergency services squad, including police, emergency medical and ambulance, fire, and other disaster response agencies. Used to respond to emergency incidents and circumstances and prevent situations that pose threats to people or property, keeping the Public Safety Communication system is crucial.
It's pivotal to ensure that radio signals are able to pierce into all corners of the buildings and facilities, including those areas that pose added difficulties for the RF to penetrate. These include elevators, stairwells, basements, shielded and protected areas, thick-walled rooms, or any other tricky spaces in the building.
When first responders respond to emergency situations to save lives, they rely on resilient, dependable, and well-optimized network to execute and accomplish their mission. Their communication must be flawless, instant, void of interruption. Not only that, but they have to be able to gather and sort through all the gush of information coming from the community and public. Interoperability and security are critical to an effectual and highly coordinated response to the crisis situations. For this, a well optimized Public Safety network is foundational. One that does not only provide priority communications at times when they're needed the most, but also provides end-to-end encryption, sheltering important and delicate information as they unfold.
To ensure such, NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) and IFC (International Fire Code) have established the framework for regulations nationwide dealing with required in-building safety communications coverage. Below, we cover some of these codes:
Codes and requirements from NFPA
220.127.116.11.1 | Coverage Areas
"Critical Areas. Critical areas, such as the fire command center(s), the fire pump room(s), exit stairs, exit passageways, elevator lobbies, standpipe cabinets, sprinkler sectional valve locations, and other areas deemed critical by the authority having jurisdiction, shall be provided with 99 percent floor area radio coverage."
18.104.22.168 | Signal Strength
Inbound: "A minimum inbound signal strength of −95 dBm, or other signal strength as required by the authority having jurisdiction, shall be provided throughout the coverage area."
Outbound: "A minimum outbound signal strength of −95 dBm at the donor site, or other signal strength as required by the authority having jurisdiction, shall be provided from the coverage area."
22.214.171.124.2 | General Building Areas
"General building areas shall be provided with 90 percent floor area radio coverage."
126.96.36.199.3 | Amplification Components
"Buildings and structures that cannot support the required level of radio coverage shall be equipped with a radiating cable system or a distributed antenna system (DAS) with FCC-certified signal boosters, or both, or with a system that is otherwise approved, in order to achieve the required adequate radio coverage."
188.8.131.52.2 | Component Enclosures
All repeater, transmitter, receiver, signal booster components, and battery system components shall be contained in a NEMA 4- or 4X- type enclosure(s).
Codes and requirements from IFC
Section 510.01 | Emergency responder radio coverage in new buildings
All new buildings shall have approved radio coverage for emergency responders within the building based upon the existing coverage levels of the public safety communication systems of the jurisdiction at the exterior of the building. This section shall not require improvement of the existing public safety communications systems.
Section 510.4.1 | Radio signal strength
The building shall be considered to have acceptable emergency responder radio coverage when signal strength measurements in 95 percent of all areas on each floor of the building meet the signal strength requirements.
Inside buildings: A minimum signal strength of -95 dBm shall be receivable within the building.
Outside the buildings: A minimum signal strength of -95 dBm shall be received by the agency's radio system when transmitted from within the building.
Section 510.4.2.1 | System Design | Amplification system allowed
Buildings and structures which cannot support the required level of radio coverage shall be equipped with a radiating cable system, a distributed antenna system with Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-certified signal boosters, or other system approved by the fire code official in order to achieve the required adequate radio coverage.
Section 510.4.2.3 | System Design | Secondary power
Emergency responder radio coverage systems shall be provided with an approved secondary source of power. The secondary power supply shall be capable of operating the emergency responder radio coverage system for a period of at least 24 hours. When primary power is lost, the power supply to the emergency responder radio coverage system shall automatically transfer to the secondary power supply.
Section 510.5.3 | Acceptance test procedure
When an emergency responder radio coverage system is required, and upon completion of installation, the building owner shall have the radio system tested to ensure that two-way coverage on each floor of the building is a minimum of 90 percent.
These regulations and codes (among many others) from NFPA and IFC govern this area of public safety communication protocols for a very important reason – and that is to save lives of the vulnerable, including themselves in response. It is no denying that this reliable communication system in a crucial element to the first responders. It is, therefore, absolutely pivotal to ensure these requirements and measures are followed, and a reliable communication system is installed - ready for the first responders who're running in the direction of danger, when everyone else is moving the other direction.
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