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Building Codes Now Requiring Radio Coverage for Emergency Personnel

In-building radio system limitations for emergency personnel prompted the creation and implementation of a critical update to the 2009 International Fire Code/International Building Code that addresses public safety emergency responder radio coverage. Certain sections of the IFC state that in-building radio communication performance must be equivalent to that outside at street level.

New Building Codes

New provisions require that all buildings (new and existing) have approved radio coverage, like distributed antenna systems, for emergency responders. The emergency communication system must be designed according to specific International Fire Code specifications. Below are two major updates to the building codes:

Amplification systems allowed: Buildings and structures that cannot support the required level of radio coverage must be equipped with a radiating cable system, a distributed antenna system with FCC-certified signal boosters, or other systems approved by the fire code official in order to achieve the required radio coverage.

Secondary power: The emergency communication systems must be equipped with a secondary source of power. The secondary source of power must be either a battery system or an emergency generator.

Owners Beware

Emergency communication systems for first responders now have new safety restrictions for building owners. The recently adopted code dictates that building owners are responsible for code compliance. Below are two major building codes that directly affect owners:

Additional frequencies: The building owner must modify or expand the emergency responder radio coverage system at his or her expense in the event frequency changes are required by the FCC or additional frequencies are made available by the FCC.

Field testing: Agency personnel may enter the property at any time to conduct field testing to verify the required level of radio coverage.

While some recent advances in technology, such as radio frequency to fiber optic conversion and distribution, have made distributed antenna systems design more manageable, the wireless engineering design component remains a highly specialized discipline.

CTS Cabling is highly trained to design these in-building emergency communication systems to ensure that your building is up to code and first-responder ready. To learn more about our innovative services, including Distributed Antenna Systems, or to speak with an experienced cable contractor in Arizona, call 877-685-2626 or contact us online.

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