Public Safety DAS

A Public Safety DAS (Distributed Antenna System), also known as ERRCS (Emergency Responder Radio Communication System), is an in-built radio system that outspreads two-way radio signals to first responders during an emergency situation within the premises.

Consistent communication is vital for our first responders, as their course of action entirely depends upon the type of crisis they encounter. Therefore, Public Safety DAS plays a mandatory part in the building’s coverage, assuring clear radio signals.

Cel-Fi Quatra DAS System

Commscope DAS System

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Does your building require a Distributed Antenna System?

It has been proven that Public Safety (DAS) is an essential part of communication to tackle any crisis that strikes upon any building or premises; however, how does one determine if their building requires a DAS system? To decide on this, we first need to understand the process of a DAS system. DAS is an antenna-based system that commutes throughout the building and provides enhanced two-way radio signals that uniformly distribute the amplified signals.

The antenna that sends signals within the building is known as Bi-Directional Amplifiers (BDAs). BDA is then transformed to meet the public safety frequency, which is usually between (700-900 MHz) but frequencies can be added depending on the radio users within the building. This process helps establish that first responders can communicate clearly and widely with people inside and outside the building without interruption during the rescue.

The building owner should always be aware of certain factors that help them determine if Public Safety (DAS) is required on their premises. This can vary from the type of structure the building has to the kind of industry that the building is used for.

A few factors that can contribute if a DAS is required include the layout of the building. Many high-rise buildings often require a DAS system as large structures can block or bounce back the signal; however, DAS can overcome these shortages as it evenly distributes the signal throughout the building.

The type of residency also determines the requirement of DAS. Occupancies like Hospitals, Schools, nursing homes, and other facilities that are prone to crisis require a DAS system. Many different industry types, such as Hotels, Malls, Campuses, Airports, train stations, and emergency responders’ premises like fire or police departments, can be categorized in the DAS system requirement.

Public Safety DAS

What Are The Main Building Codes To Follow?

IFC Codes and Standards

Public safety cannot be compromised. Rules and regulations must be followed, and there shouldn’t be any room for error. Therefore, it is critical to understand and follow the code implemented by the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction).

The International Code Council’s (ICC) 2018 International Fire Code (IFC) section 510 states the requirement of radio coverage in the building for first responders. The first responders need clear coverage in order to assist with dire situations without losing any sort of communication. Hence; buildings were created to meet a standard requirement for Public Safety (DAS). Below are some codes directly from IFC.

  • IFC Section 510.01 states, “Approved in-building emergency responder communication coverage for emergency responders shall be provided in all new buildings. In-building, two-way emergency responder communication coverage within the building shall be based in the existing coverage levels of the public safety communication systems utilized by the jurisdiction, measured at the exterior of the building. This section shall not require improvement of the existing public safety communication system.”
  • Section 510.4.1 states, “The building shall have acceptable emergency responder communications enhancement system coverage when signal strength measurements in 95 percent of all areas on each floor of the building meet the signal strength requirements”
  • Section 510.4.2.1 states, “Building and structures that cannot support required level of in-building two-way emergency responder communication coverage shall be equipped with systems and components to enhance the radio signals and achieve the required level of in-building two-way emergency communication coverage.”

NFPA Codes and Standards

While the IFC code is mandatory to follow for new in-building coverage, NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) is another component dedicated to building safety. It is a non-profit organization established in 1896 and proposed many rules and regulations for safety against fire, electric hazards, and life safety precautions.

The NFPA has a wide range of codes leading up to 300+ codes and standards. Every Code evolves from time to time. These codes are designed to identify and elude potential hazards. It is quite understandable that not all facility/building owners can remember them. Therefore, below are a few sets of codes that are essential for Public Safety DAS.

NFPA 72:- National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code: NFPA 72 provides the latest safety provisions to meet society’s changing fire detection, signaling, and emergency communications demands. In addition to the core focus on fire alarm systems, the Code includes:

  • Requirements for mass notification systems used for weather emergencies.
  • Terrorist events.
  • Biological, chemical, nuclear emergencies and other threats.

NFPA states that 99% of coverage is required for crucial areas like the basement, stairway, and equipment rooms.

NFPA 70:- NEC (National Electrical Code): Enforced in all 50 states, NFPA 70, National Electrical Code (NEC) is the benchmark for safe electrical design, installation, and inspection to protect people and property from electrical hazards.

Due to the DAS’s antenna being installed in the facility/building, any electrical hazard cannot influence or damage it; hence, it is a crucial communication factor during any natural disaster. In 2022, several updates were made, including combining NFPA 1225 with NFPA 1061 and NFPA 1221. Subsequently, it guides the maintenance of the emergency communication system. The NFPA has numerous codes and standards, which are critical rules one must comply with.

FCC Codes and Standards

The final code that a building/facility owner should be aware of is the FCC code. FCC stands for Federal Communications Commission, an independent U.S. government agency that regulates the radio, television and phone industry and oversees wire, satellite, and cable communication. Its jurisdiction covers more than 50 states and territories.

The FCC is responsible for monitoring and setting rules for the DAS system and codes on how different amplifiers should be installed. It is also in charge of licensing the DAS system and materializing installation regulations. It is essential to note that the FCC and other compliances of the DAS system change from time to time, and it is important to be aware of those modifications.
As of 2022 (latest updated), below are a few FCC codes and regulations one must adhere to and amend for the installation of a DAS system:-

E911 Requirements: The FCC outlines the condition of abiding by Enhanced 911 (E911) to ensure that emergency responders can locate the area wirelessly and accurately; therefore, the DAS system must warrant E911 requirements

Part 15 of the FCC Rules states that to ensure public safety, one must follow a certain set of technical specifications and frequency bands, which need to be FCC-certified.

In addition, DAS must comply with the FCC regarding environmental aspects, electromagnetic radiation, and other regularity requirements.

Components of Public Safety DAS

DAS system demonstrates the core part of public safety as communication and coordination become the top priority during rescue. However, a question always arises: Why is the DAS system such a vital aspect of communication? What differentiates it from regular communication? To determine this, we need to understand the elements and components of a DAS system.

DAS is a sequence of antennas that uniformly amplifies radio signals within the premises, enabling wireless communication for emergency responders like firefighters, EMS (Emergency Medical Services) and Public Safety Dispatcher. It warrants communication even under extreme situations.

DAS is made of multiple components, which enhances thorough coordination; here are a few elements which make it one of the most important aspects of Public Safety:-

Public Safety DAS

Battery Backup: A hazardous situation like a fire breakout, flood, earthquake or power outage can easily affect the power system of any building and cause a lack of communication connectivity. DAS systems’ battery backup can be a major support during these crises, ensuring connectivity.

Remote Monitoring System: A remote monitoring System allows the facility or business owner to monitor the DAS system remotely, enabling them to detect and resolve issues beforehand. It monitors the system and can detect any deviation or potential issues.

Donor Antenna:A donor antenna is an external antenna responsible for receiving signals from a radio tower. These signals are converted into Radio frequencies (RF) and then transmitted to a DAS system, which further connects with Bi-Directional Amplifiers (BDAs) or signal boosters. As a result, the signals are evenly amplified throughout the building, even reaching enclosed areas like the basement, stairway and equipment rooms.

Many of the components, including those mentioned above, make the DAS system a crucial part of Public Safety codes.

Factors to consider before installing a Public Safety DAS

Installing the DAS system always assists the building owners in ensuring the safety of the people residing in it. Due to this, it has become a mandatory tool for all commercial facilities.

A common question that facility/building owners face when researching a DAS system is: What factors do they need to consider before installing a Public Safety DAS? The answers can vary from rules and regulations to structural layout. Hence, it is vital to be aware of the aspects that are considerable for a DAS system.

Below are some common factors that one should consider before the installation of Public Safety DAS:-

  • Building Structure and Layout: A building’s layout and structure are essential factors to consider before DAS installation. Usually, a high-rise building requires a DAS system as it provides a wide range of radio coverage. It is to be noted that factors such as building wall material and floor plans should be consulted with an expert to avoid signal interference.
  • Code Regulations: A Public Safety DAS must comply with the rules and regulations of their respective Local AHJ. Although IFC, NFPA, and FCC codes can vary by Jurisdiction, it is best to research the codes and requirements of the respective area, including local building codes and safety standards.
  • Cellular Usage Coverage: It is pivotal to consider the number of cellular or application users. An area with a large number of application users requires a DAS system, which proves to be a reliable source of connectivity and coordination.
  • Power backup, Maintenance and Environmental Conditions, along with the above-mentioned factors, are some of the aspects that can be a reliable element to consider before the installation of a DAS system.

We Make Sure Your Building Is In Compliance With Mandatory Regulations

A critical factor in DAS installations is a comprehensive consciousness of the rules and regulations. Any building/facility owner must implement those codes and standards on their premises. However, it can be quite difficult to be aware of all the minute details of those codes and standards.

That’s where we come to your aid. We have a dedicated team of experts who excel with the knowledge of the DAS system and its codes and regulations. They will assist you with familiarizing yourself with the pertinent building codes with reference to the respective jurisdiction. We assure you that your property is under the permit and will inform you about the DAS system. We stay informed with the latest updated regulations as they change from time to time and can also undergo modification.

It is imperative to meet the standard code of installation and maintenance, and we ensure that. Being aware of the regulations and knowledgeable about violations of rules is also essential; therefore, consequences can be avoided.

Our team is always ready to assist you with the permit documentation, as keeping a record of installation, inspection and maintenance reports is essential for audit and inspection.

Numerous codes and regulations are adhered to by CMC Communications, and we ensure that your building complies with mandatory regulations.

Public Safety DAS

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