Public safety radio coverage between the walls

Recent changes to the Fire Code in many states meant that I visited The Engineers’ Club of St Louis last week to give training on the National Fire Protection Association updates to a group of Fire Marshals, Consulting Firms, Architects and some Colleges in the St. Louis area.

Part of the code now supports a requirement for in-building 2-Way Radio coverage which is being adopted across the Country. In-building coverage is becoming more of a necessity and it is imperative that public safety professionals understand the challenges and the requirements.

Modern building materials, although often ‘green’ and environmentally friendly, actually make it tougher for outdoor radio signals of any kind to penetrate the constructions they create. With demand for capacity increasing from consumers and with stricter regulations on public safety communications, in-building coverage is something that we all need to address within every area of our industry.

Overall the in-building market has seen global growth double in the last five years and active solutions have accelerated faster than any other type. Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) remain a key tool in the in-building ‘toolbox’ and I use opportunities such as this training session to help stakeholders understand the radio principals that apply to in-building coverage and define what participation is needed from everyone involved to make such coverage roll-outs work.

Fundamentally, I understand that there needs to be a collaborative effort between both the AHJ (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) and the radio communications stakeholders to properly enforce the new fire codes. I hope that my training continues to help both the AHJ and communications officials in developing a workable standard. Watch this space…

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