November 7, 2019

Building owners can never plan for an emergency, but they can help equip emergency responders to do their jobs. First responders need to be able to communicate to their teams clearly and reliably. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) outlines standards and regulations for Public Safety systems to ensure dependable emergency communications. 

Setting Up a Public Safety DAS System

A Public Safety DAS system is a series of antennas that enable communication for emergency responders like EMS, firefighters, and law enforcement through their wireless radio access under even the most formidable of circumstances. This system strengthens the connection for these wireless communications, allowing them to better serve the public in emergencies. 

Below, we have some of the required elements of a public safety DAS system.

Firefighter equipment in a fire truck with walkie talkie and halt stop trowel

System Coverage

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) outlines standards and regulations for Public Safety DAS systems to ensure dependable emergency communications. It’s mandated that a building provide adequate communications coverage (often by means of a Public Safety DAS) as outlined by the International Fire Code (IFC) and NFPA regulations set in place by the local municipality. The IFC dictates that 95% coverage is needed everywhere, and NFPA dictates that 99% of coverage is required in areas that your local fire department designates as important, such as parking garages, locker rooms, equipment rooms, basements, and stairwells. These regulations must be met to facilitate the wireless communication needs of first responder access radios and phones.

Battery Backup

If your building catches fire, there’s nothing more dangerous than a dark, smoke-filled building without radio connectivity. In the event of an emergency that merits first-responder assistance such as a flood or fire, it’s likely that your building will lose power or that it may need to be shut off manually. Up-to-code equipment should function for at least a full 24 hours on a backup battery.

NEMA-4 Enclosures

Since sensitive radio equipment will not function properly when wet, code-approved systems must utilize radio equipment enclosures approved by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). These enclosures are meant to withstand enormous amounts of water, keeping sensitive equipment functional when it matters most, such as when firefighters use hoses to shoot massive amounts of water at the building to quench the flames. NEMA-4 Enclosures mitigate the chance that the hoses putting the fire out damage the radio equipment, which could leave first responders without the ability to communicate. 

System Monitoring Alarms

A system monitoring alarm will be able to provide real-time monitoring of the readiness of your system. What should you be monitoring? Power or battery failures, antenna network malfunctions, and the capacity of your battery power. Make sure that the alarms you have in place meet the standards of both NFPA and IFC, which also depends on your local jurisdiction.

Experts in Public Safety DAS Systems

If you have any questions about installing a public safety DAS system or in-building wireless solutions in general, contact our team today!