The Need for Public Safety Connectivity Coverage
Since the tragedies of September 11, many have realized the increasing need for reliable public safety communications and connectivity for first responders and emergency personnel, including firefighters, EMS, and police. All these operations rely on two-way radio communication, but in growing cities and bigger structures, communication can fail in stairwells, concrete structures, and other properties where, unfortunately, it may come a time where reliable connectivity means life or death.
Solution: DAS for Public Safety Connectivity
Because of the need to have a reliable means of communication to send and receive information, emergency DAS systems are potentially necessary systems for all types of buildings and properties, including:
- Office buildings
- Parking structures and stairwells
- Hotels and hospitality venues
- Malls and retail centers
- Stadiums and arenas
- Airport, train stations, and other transit centers
There is a clear need to focus on improving reliable radio communications in large buildings, such as high-rises, public structures, and more, so that all can get and receive the help they need (including the public and first responders).
The goal of DAS for public safety is to extend wireless coverage within structures and enable first responders’ radio and cell phones to work regardless of their location within that building (from a parking deck, to the basement, to a stairwell, or interior conference room).
NFPA Requirements for Public Safety Coverage
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets standards and requirements to lead information and resources on fire, electrical, and related hazards.
According to NFPA requirements for public safety coverage, buildings and public spaces must:
- Have 99% system coverage in designated crucial areas
- Have 90% system coverage in general-use areas
- Paint public safety enclosures red to assemble a piece of fire requirement (and they must be protected from dust and driven rain)
- Have a Public Safety radio system to remain operational on a backup battery for no less than 12 hours, should a building emergency result in power failure
- Read more requirements »
New public safety building codes being implemented and updated by the NFPA (as well as the International Code Council) have been driving implementation and growth of in-building wireless solutions for public safety, such as DAS infrastructure.
Creation of First Responders Network Authority (FirstNet)
Due to increase in national, state, and local legislation realizing the need for public safety connectivity standards and improvements, the First Responders Network Authority (FirstNet) was created as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of February 2012. FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, composed of representatives from public safety, local, state, and federal government, and the wireless industry. The goal is to provide first responders with the first nationwide, high-speed, broadband network dedicated to public safety.