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BDA-DAS – Is your building up to code?

Building Codes Require Distributed Antenna Systems for Public Safety Radio Coverage

Is your building up to code?

Are you aware of the new building fire code that Fire Marshals are now enforcing? They are requiring your building to meet specific public safety radio (PSR) and emergency responder radio coverage (ERRC) requirements . Today’s first responders rely on radio communication. In an emergency situation where concise communication can mean the difference between life or death, reliable coverage is an absolute must.

To avoid costing your project precious time and money because of a denied certificate of occupancy (CO), make sure your ERRC is up to code during your new construction inspection.

Large public buildings and sites such as airports, stadiums, schools, college campuses, malls and hotels need a developed emergency management plan that includes disaster and safety management procedures. Being sure that security, policemen, firefighters and other public safety personnel can communicate clearly and efficiently in your building is one of the most vital components of campus security.

What is a Public Safety Signal Booster?

Most signal boosters refer to inexpensive and ineffective consumer grade radio signal boosters or commercial grade signal boosting radio repeaters. MCA specializes in turn-key communication solutions for industrial and public safety customers, including Public Safety Distributed Antenna Systems (PSR DAS).

Our PSR DAS solutions feature bi-directional amplifiers, head end units, ceiling mounted antennas, custom cabling, and more – all working together to effectively boost and distribute public safety radio signals across your facilities. Unlike those systems we first mentioned, our solutions ensure Emergency Responder radios can communicate effectively throughout your entire building. They don’t just give your signal reception a minor boost, they are complete systems that significantly enhance radio and cellular signal strength, coverage, and capacity.

A BDA is a device that transmits and receives radio frequency from a local wireless tower or repeater and amplifies that frequency. Alone they can improve your in-building radio coverage, but when used as components within a complete PSR DAS solution with a full network of distributed antennas, they more evenly and powerfully distribute signals throughout an entire building.

Distributed Antenna Systems for Fire Safety and Code Compliance

BDAs work together within our full DAS solution to rebroadcast the emergency responder communication system signal. An in-building ERRC system ensures that radio frequency is able to penetrate into all areas of buildings, including areas that are especially difficult for first responders to enter such as stairwells, elevators, basements and thick-walled or shielded areas. The distributed network of antennas, cables, splitters and other devices that form a high-quality DAS solution help cover extremely large areas, that transmit PSR signals. These rebroadcasted signals allows first responders to use radios in locations within a building that were previously dead zones.

In addition to radio enhancement systems, cellular DAS systems appeared in the commercial tier to improve a Wireless Service Provider’s coverage throughout at a customer’s facility. These cellular DAS systems allow organizations to not only improve coverage for Cellular Carriers throughout their buildings for an improved cell phone user experience but can be combined with public safety radio to improve all types of RF coverage throughout any type of venue.

What standards and codes need to be met?

Public Safety Code requirements are set forth by NFPA and IFC standards. With these building regulations, new building construction must meet a minimum level of emergency responder radio coverage as a condition for occupancy. It is the responsibility of the General Contractor, building’s owner or building’s operator to have their building tested by a certified Public Safety DAS professional. If it’s determined required, they must have a system installed and ensure it passes all code specifications.

  • NFPA 72 – Stated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “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, and nuclear emergencies; and other threats.”
  • IFC 510.4.2.1 – This section of the International Fire Code, “Buildings and structures which cannot support the required level of radio coverage shall be equipped with a radiating cable system, a distributed antenna system with Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-certified signal boosters, or other system approved by the fire code official in order to achieve the required adequate radio coverage.”

The Solution

Partner with Mobile Communications America (MCA) as your turn-key Tier 1 National Integrator of PSR and Cellular DAS solutions that ensure front-line public safety personnel in your building can communicate—no matter where they are. MCA provides services every step of the way—including consultation, engineering testing, iBwave design, full turn-key installation efforts and continued maintenance and monitoring of your system. We can provide monthly payment plan options—no capital required.

For more information or to schedule a site test, call 800-577-3678 or visit our MCA DAS Solutions page.

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