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Houses Of Worship Rely On Distributed Antenna Systems To Ensure Congregation Safety

Religious Buildings Meant For Peace Are Often The Targets Of Violence

Houses of worship – including churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques – are intended to be places of reflection, gathering, and peace. However, in the United States, there is a sad history of them also being places of violence, with houses of worship often being targets for hate crimes. In 2022 alone, there have been a number of church shootings, and just last month, a massive plan to attack a synagogue in New York City was thwarted by an analyst who noticed chilling messages on social media.

Many property developers and construction firms are well aware of the benefits of installing security systems into the large corporate and retail spaces they build and manage. However, religious leaders – who are oftentimes the main decision maker for their buildings and congregations – may not realize the importance of keeping surveillance, security, and communications up-to-date, if they have them at all. Additionally, while they may focus on securing the perimeter of a building to keep intruders out, they may neglect to realize that ensuring reliable communications for those inside the building or arriving on the scene of an incident is also a critical consideration.

Challenges

Houses of worship are unique in that many of them have long and storied histories dating back many generations. The oldest church in the United States was built in 1610, and there are still countless churches from that time period still operating today. These churches, and the synagogues, mosques, and temples that have come after them, have seen generations of people pass through their doors, all expecting to find a safe, sacred place of contemplation and refuge. However, any house of worship built more than a generation ago likely wasn’t built with many security measures in place other than locking doors and windows. 

As horrific crimes targeting houses of worship continue to increase, it’s imperative that religious community leaders move to protect their congregations. In addition to deploying security and surveillance equipment, ensuring that first responders are able to communicate with each other, dispatch, and those seeking help should be a top priority.

Distributed Antenna Systems Ensure Reliable Communication For First Responders

One of the ways that religious leaders can protect their congregation is to deploy a Public Safety Distributed Antenna System (DAS) that boosts emergency responder radio coverage (ERRC) to improve building safety. Distributed Antenna Systems are meant to amplify cellular and radio signals so that the signals are strong and reliable throughout the building. Public Safety DAS systems specifically target the 700-800 MHz frequency range dedicated to first responder communications.

Cellular DAS systems boost coverage for the frequencies major network carriers utilize for public use. Well it’s typically more important to boost public safety frequencies, it can be very important to boost both, especially in megachurches or other types of religious centers that can hold hundreds to thousands of worshippers at a single time. This is especially important for very large buildings, buildings with very “cut up” layouts, or areas where there are many people gathering at one time (which can cause congestion on the networks).

Churches with large congregations numbering in the hundreds or thousands and/or very large (over 50,000 square feet) physical footprints should strongly consider Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS). Cellular and radio signals should be tested throughout the entire building – including areas that aren’t generally frequented but may be used by someone to escape or hide, such as coat and storage closets, stairwells, basements, elevators, attics, and rooftops –  to ensure that cellular phones and two-way radios will be able to connect.

By ensuring that the congregants are able to make and receive calls during a time of crisis, and that first responders are able to communicate with each other and with dispatch, houses of worship are providing an extra layer of protection if the unthinkable happens.

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For over 30 years, MCA has provided expertly tailored communications solutions to property developers and builders in need of two-way radios, job-site connectivity, and wireless signal enhancement systems. Our team provides top-tier support for every aspect of your business and mission-critical communications projects from start to finish. Our engineers assess your needs, design custom solutions, and install systems that fit your organization’s exacting requirements.

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